Foreword by Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer, AHSN NENC
It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience looking back at what has been achieved over the last year – both within the AHSN NENC and also the wider health system across the North East and North Cumbria.
Our position at the heart of the regional health and care ecosystem offers an unparalleled understanding of local needs and complexities. This year we are proud to have supported the development, evaluation, and spread and adoption of many innovations that have the potential to make a real difference to the communities we serve, while also supporting economic growth.
Through our Innovation Pathway, we continue to mobilise the region’s health assets to provide a holistic approach to innovators navigating the system. As you will see in this report, the AHSN NENC Team has facilitated collaboration across all sectors including the NHS, social care, public health, academia and industry.
During the last 12 months we have been looking at new ways of working and thinking to develop a greener and more sustainable NHS in line with the 2040 carbon net zero target. A significant amount of work in this area is underway throughout the system and we are working with partners from a range of disciplines to support the delivery of sustainability solutions and share best practice.
Another key focus for us has been supporting programmes that address the health inequalities faced across our region, such as our work aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk, improving respiratory function and targeting opioid prescribing.
In the year ahead, we will continue to support the healthcare system in whatever way we can for the benefit of the health and economic prosperity of the region.
Reducing Health Inequalities
North East and North Cumbria has the lowest healthy life expectancy and highest mortality compared to other areas of England.
Our health improvement programmes aim to target these health inequalities that impact so significantly upon the people in our Integrated Care System, with a focus upon addressing priorities identified as contributing most to the poor outcomes in our population. We have high profile programmes of work aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk, improving respiratory function and targeting opioid prescribing all conditions that disproportionately affect those in the CORE20PLUS5 populations.
Transforming Patient Safety
Through the work of our Patient Safety Collaborative, the AHSN NENC supports a culture of safety, continuous learning and sustainable improvement across our regional health and social care system.
Commissioned by NHS Improvement the AHSN NENC is one of 15 AHSNs who deliver the National Safety Improvement programmes across our respective geographical footprints. Mid-pandemic our 2021-2022 commission focused our delivering safety interventions that were envisaged to have the greatest impact on helping the NHS respond to COVID. These programmes spanned the themes of Managing Deterioration, Medicines Safety in Care homes, Maternity & Neonates, Mental Health, Respiratory & Emergency Laparotomy.
The following are just two examples of the safety improvement programmes delivered by the NENC team.
Support role of NHS in health and social recovery
The AHSN Network is mandated by NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Office for Life Sciences to support the development, evaluation, adoption and diffusion of innovations across the NHS to improve health outcomes and support in health and social care recovery.
Working collaboratively with NHS staff, partners and members across primary care, secondary care and the wider health and care sector, we identify unmet needs and facilitate the development of innovations to address these challenges.
Support cohesion of regional infrastructure to operationalise IP
The Importance of Innovation to Drive Health Improvements
The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) is committed to bringing commercially viable and sustainable innovations to address the many health challenges facing our society. Our mission is aligned with the UK Life Sciences Vision to solve some of the biggest healthcare problems of our generation.
Innovation is key to driving this vision and the AHSN NENC is a key delivery partner of innovation in the health and care sector. Through delivering innovation with our partners and stakeholders the AHSN NENC provides a unique role supporting the development, adoption and scale up of proven innovations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need for faster development and adoption of innovation to address the challenges raised by the pandemic and how this response has accelerated the delivery of innovation to patients. The AHSN NENC has played a major role in bringing these innovations to the health and care system and ultimately for the benefit of patients.
Use digital solutions as an enabler
The last year has seen the formation of a Digital Transformation team within the AHSN NENC, growing from a team of one person to a full digital team that is well integrated within our local ICS. During the first year, team members have invested a significant amount of time building relationships with key partners in the region to understand the needs of our local healthcare system, and how we can add value in a complex and ever demanding sector.
Working closely with partners, the teams role is to identify, support and facilitate opportunities to use digital health initiatives to transform pathways of care. There’s been some significant achievements so far including investments secured in our region from NHS England programmes such as Remote Monitoring Scaling Programme and Digital First Primary Care. These programmes aim to accelerate the scale of using digital innovations to transform patient care and empower local people and healthcare professionals to embrace digital care.