The AHSN Network had a successful and wide-ranging presence at the Health and Care Innovation Expo this year, which took place on 2 - 3 September at Manchester Central.
AHSNs were recognised for their successes over the past two years, and as being a key driver for the uptake of innovation across the NHS in speeches by a number of key national figures, including Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director and Professor Malcom Grant, Chairman of NHS England.
In his speech to Expo, George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, described AHSNs as being one of the key programmes to help deliver the Five Year Forward vision of leading improvements in health through developing, testing and spreading innovation across the health system.
He said: “AHSNs are working with partners locally and nationally to develop innovation eco-systems right across the NHS, so that innovation is championed by all – from patients to CEOs… and there are many good examples of where AHSNs have led the diffusion of innovation in their geographical areas, to meet local clinical needs.”
He cited the AHSN Network as being core to the delivery of three programmes: the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), National Innovation Accelerator programme and Test Beds. He also referenced Greater Manchester AHSN’s Innovation Nexus service connecting small to medium sized companies to the NHS, Oxford AHSN’s remote monitoring system for women with gestational diabetes, and South West AHSN’s light therapy mask for the prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
Frontline clinical innovators involved in projects from across the AHSN geographies had two meetings with two fellows from the office of Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive. Their role was to discuss the enablers and barriers to driving innovation locally, and how they felt NHSE could help better support their work in future.
Together with the NHS England Innovation Team and the Office for Life Sciences, the AHSNs co-hosted an Accelerated Access Review event attended by around 50 key national and regional stakeholders. Keynote speakers included George Freeman MP, Charlie Davie, Managing Director of UCL Partners and Nicole Mather, Director for the Office of Life Sciences. A number of senior AHSN Network figures were invited to speak in other sessions during Expo.
The Accelerated Access Review is a consultation looking at how to improve NHS access to transformative medicines and medical technology. The event covered a number of themes including: empowering consumers, unlocking demand for innovation and creating new incentives for innovation. Feedback from this event will now be used to inform the AHSN Network’s response to the consultation.