Professor Gary Ford
Chair, The AHSN Network
Bringing together expertise from the NHS, research and industry are accelerating the spread and adoption of innovation, which will benefit patients for years to come.
As we mark the 75th birthday of the NHS, England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are celebrating an anniversary of their own. The Network has been helping identify, adopt and spread promising innovations for 10 years, bringing together the life science industry, universities and the NHS.
A health network supporting the NHS
Collectively, AHSNs have contributed to improvements in health outcomes and supported economic growth. Since 2018, the Network has played a lead role in generating more than £1.3 billion in investment in UK life science companies and securing or protecting more than 5,400 jobs. They have delivered a return on investment of almost £4 for every £1 commissioned.*
Support ranging from cardiovascular to maternal
Over the last five years, they have delivered 10 national adoption and spread programmes in line with local and national priorities, particularly in cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, mental health and maternity/neonatal care. They have also supported the rapid uptake of 28 NICE-approved products. These initiatives have benefited over 2.2 million patients and saved the NHS approximately £164 million.
One example has been identifying atrial fibrillation risks, preventing thousands of strokes and saving hundreds of lives. Currently, the Network is engaged in increasing access to appropriate medicines for lipid management, including novel therapies.
These initiatives have benefited over
2.2 million patients and saved the
NHS approximately £164 million.
In maternity safety, almost 300 pre-term babies avoided cerebral palsy due to the wider use of magnesium sulphate, while 35,000 pregnant women each year are benefiting from the widespread adoption of a blood test to rule out pre-eclampsia.
Other national programmes have included supporting young people with eating disorders, helping improve the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, better diagnosis and treatment of severe asthma and improving medicines safety.
Continuous work championing innovation
As they move into their second decade, AHSNs remain committed to championing and scaling the best healthcare innovations. One example is harnessing AI technology in brain imaging to speed up access to stroke care, reducing long-term disability and improving patient outcomes. They will continue to support the NHS with its most pressing issues, including helping to deliver a net zero NHS by 2040, addressing health inequalities and improving patient safety.
*Based on £13m annual funding from the Office for Life Sciences (OLS); ROI of 1:3.96 based on HMP Green Book methodology.