Academic Health Science Networks

Academic Health Science Networks

The UK Government has identified life sciences and healthcare as important sectors to generate new economic growth as well as increasing the quality of care for patients within the NHS.

There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale. They seek to align education, clinical research, informatics, innovation, training and education and healthcare delivery, with a goal of improving patient and population health outcomes by translating research into practice, and developing and implementing integrated health care services.

AHSNs were established to deliver a step-change in the way the NHS identifies, develops and adopts new technologies and are predicated on partnership working and collaboration between the NHS, academia, the private sector and other external partners within a single AHSN context and across AHSNs.

The core objectives of AHSNs are to:

  1. Focus on the needs of patients and local populations: support and work in partnership with commissioners and public health bodies to identify and address unmet medical needs, whilst promoting health equality and best practice;
  2. Build a culture of partnership and collaboration: promote inclusivity, partnership and collaboration to consider and address local, regional and national priorities;
  3. Speed up adoption of innovation into practice to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience  – support the identification and more rapid spread of research and innovation at pace and scale to improve patient care and local population health; and
  4. Create wealth through co-development, testing, evaluation and early adoption and spread of new products and services.

In 2018, the AHSNs had their “licences” renewed by NHS England, with the provision of further funding for their work. Seven programmes ,developed regionally, were selected for national adoption and spread across the AHSN Network during 2018-2020. Three of the programmes are of particular interest for pharmacy:

Further resources:

AHSN network

AHSN Network impact report (2017)



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