New name for NHS body boosting patient care in the West of England through innovation

October 3, 2023

The organisation tasked with putting healthcare innovation at the heart of the NHS in Bristol and the West of England has rebranded following its relicensing for a further five years.

The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), which is based in the Future Space innovation hub on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus, has become Health Innovation West of England to better reflect its role in delivering groundbreaking projects for the NHS.

The move also marks its 10th anniversary this year of the introduction by the government of 15 AHSNs across England, a period in which they have worked locally and nationally to support the development and spread of innovation in health and care, from new technologies to ways of working and service improvements.

Since 2018, the AHSNs have come together on 10 national adoption and spread programmes and supported the rapid uptake of 28 NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)-approved products.

These have benefited more than 2m patients and saved an estimated £165m a year for the NHS.

Programmes introduced in the West of England include testing AI logistics technology to support care planning, leading a national scheme that supports healthcare professionals to identify potential risks for patients taking multiple medicines and supporting midwives to reduce the inequitable maternity outcomes faced by Black mothers and their babies.

The government and NHS England have now relicensed the AHSNs until 2028.

Health Innovation West of England will continue to cover Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Health Innovation West of England chief executive Natasha Swinscoe, pictured, said: “We’ve come a long way together since we were first established in 2013 and we are immensely proud of all we have achieved in bringing innovation into the NHS at pace and scale to benefit thousands of patients.

“For the past decade, our vision has remained constant – to create a dynamic ecosystem for innovation in the West of England, founded on a collective approach to benefiting our local people.

“As Health Innovation West of England we will remain committed to championing and scaling the best healthcare innovations and 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.”


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