AHSNs relicensed as key innovation arm of the NHS

At its Board meeting on 24 May NHS England formally approved a new five year licence for the 15 AHSNs, with an option to roll this on for a further five years to 2028.

A recording of the Board meeting will be available via this link and the relevant Board report can be viewed here.

Set up in 2013 with a five-year licence to encourage health innovation and stimulate economic growth, the AHSNs have spread over 330 innovations across 11,000 locations, benefiting 22 million patients, creating 500 jobs and generating £330m investment for the country.

Ian Dodge, NHS England’s National Director for Strategy and Innovation, said: “I don’t think there’s a more important question the NHS faces than how can we get better at curating and spreading innovation? And who will serve as the NHS distribution network for innovation? The answer is the AHSNs as they enter their next phase and increasingly work together as a single national network of networks, helping to destroy NHS ‘not invented here’ syndrome.”

AHSNs have a unique place in England’s health system, building collaboration across all sectors including the NHS, social care, public health, universities, NIHR research bodies, charities and industry (from small medical technology enterprises to pharmaceutical companies). AHSNs also support economic growth by helping industry to better meet identified NHS needs.

Professor Mike Hannay, Chair of the AHSN Network, said: “The impacts from our first licence highlight the fantastic potential of the AHSNs and this announcement represents a step change in the country’s approach to health innovation and transformation.

“Each AHSN works in its area to support local innovation and transformation, and comes together as a connected national network – this creates a unique formula to improve clinical outcomes, deliver better patient experiences, drive down the cost of care and stimulate economic growth.”