NHS England and the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) have today published their annual AHSN stakeholder survey reports. Commissioned to help AHSNs understand progress, highlight areas of good practice and identify areas for collective development, the report finds almost 8 in 10 respondents would be willing to recommend working with AHSNs to others.
The NHS has huge potential to be creative and innovative yet the system as a whole is slow to adopt innovation and best practice. AHSNs exist to speed up this process, to improve patient care and reduce system inefficiencies. They do this by mobilising local expertise and knowledge across the NHS, academia and industry to help improve lives, save money and drive economic growth through innovation.
The increasing value of AHSNs’ work and support is reflected in the feedback provided by the 2,100 respondents to the survey from health and social care providers, industry, academia, clinical commissioning, patient groups, local government and the voluntary sector. The report shows that the majority of respondents value AHSN support in facilitating collaboration; quality improvement; and identifying, adopting and spreading innovation. Over 90% of colleagues from clinical commissioning groups value the support they have received on patient safety work. The level of understanding among industry partners was significantly higher than 2015, with 60 percent feeling they have a good understanding of AHSN. Overall, seven out of ten respondents rated their working relationships with AHSNs as very good or good.
As a national network, the AHSNs work collectively across health and care, delivering improvement at pace and scale. Respondents to the survey acknowledged the AHSNs’ involvement in national programmes such as the NHS Innovation Accelerator and Patient Safety Collaboratives. Some highlights of AHSNs’ achievements include:
- Supported adoption of 17 innovations into 389 additional NHS organisations and securing £17 million inward investment through the NHS Innovation Accelerator
- £20 million support for businesses through the SBRI Healthcare programme
- Enabling 33,000 patients to self-manage with Flo Simple Telehealth
- Running 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives, which are preventing avoidable harm
- Supporting 7 test bed sites, which link industry into the NHS and improve outcomes for citizens
- At least 365 strokes, one every day, prevented by our work, saving lives, reducing disability and saving almost £8.5m to the NHS and social care.
The report highlights areas for improvement, which the AHSNs will be working to address. This includes the need to clarify AHSN plans and priorities and how these are aligned to the needs of local patients and populations.
Richard Stubbs, Interim Managing Director of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said “We welcome the feedback from the 2016 stakeholder survey, which locally and nationally has seen an increased number of total respondents and improved results. We will use the feedback from our stakeholders to focus our direction of travel for the next 12 months and beyond to ensure we continue to be aligned to supporting their needs.”
Dr Liz Mear, Chair of the AHSN Network, said: “It is humbling that so many of our stakeholders took the time to share their feedback in this year’s survey. The responses are hugely encouraging and reflect the hard work of the staff in the 15 AHSNs to understand the local health landscape and needs, and facilitate collaboration with partners to address them.
“The results tell us that we’re making great progress and having an impact in many areas including collaboration and partnership working; speeding up innovation into practice; and creating wealth – all key objectives for each AHSN. However, there’s a clear demand for greater visibility of our plans and priorities and we will continue to develop this through building on our good relationships.”
Read the national AHSN Stakeholder Survey here