Academic Health Science Networks

There are 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England, established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale – improving health and generating economic growth. Each AHSN works across a distinct geography serving a different population in each region.

AHSNs connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, charities and industry and provide a range of practical support to facilitate change across health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. AHSNs are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation at pace and scale; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations.

The AHSNs provide a AHSN Network Innovation Exchange, designed to support innovators at every stage of development to help them understand NHS challenges and connect them to the help they need to succeed.

During 2018-20, the AHSNs delivered seven national adoption and spread programmes (see Legacy programmes | AHSN Network) commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

A new set of national adoption and spread programmes have been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement for the period 2020-2023:

National programmes 2021 to 2023 are:

  • Early Intervention Eating Disorders: Supporting mental health teams across England to speed up diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in young people.
  • Improving Diagnosis of ADHD: Working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Lipid management and Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH): The aim will be to improve patient care and outcomes, supporting primary care in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.
  • Wound Care: To reduce unnecessary variation, improving safety and healing rates and thus reduce patient suffering, expenditure on inappropriate and ineffective treatments, and the amount of clinical time spent on wound care.

During 2021-22 AHSNs are reviewing potential additional new programmes that fit relevant priorities. A shortlist of candidate-programmes is currently undergoing due-diligence, with selected programmes likely to commence later in 2021-22.

In addition to the national adoption and spread programmes, AHSNs deliver local programmes that address specific local needs and challenges within their geographies. AHSNs are also commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to deliver National Patient Safety Improvement Programmes.

For more information, please contact england.ahsn@nhs.net.