Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Health Sciences plays leading role in new partnership to improve health

Published: 28 May 2013

Improving the health of the Wessex region, transferring medical research from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside and enabling local enterprise in the life sciences businesses are the aims of a new network of clinical academics, health care teams and innovators.

The Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) brings together Universities, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups to link excellent research, high quality education and training, business and commercial investment and best clinical practice to improve people's health.

The group, which covers a population of more than three million people, has been offered a license and core funding by NHS England.

Health Sciences has played a leading role in its development, including the drafting of the original Prospectus. Much of the early AHSN programme will draw from the initiatives started up by the Wessex Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC) which has been based in the Faculty for the last three years.

The Faculty will also host a new ‘Centre for Implementation Science' as part of the AHSN and will continue to have a central role in its development.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton Professor Don Nutbeam is the interim Chairman of the Wessex AHSN. He comments: "Institutions across the Wessex region already have a good track record of working together to improve the health of the local population.

"This is an exciting and important opportunity that will enable us to continue that good work to drive our health services forward and to ensure that people can expect the same, high quality of care regardless of location or provider."

The Wessex AHSN's focus will be on tackling key local health issues such as respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, alcohol and liver disease and the aging population.

Wessex already has clinical and research expertise in these areas. By focusing on this and developing strong partnerships with a thriving health innovation sector, patient access to services will be improved and better treatments can be provided for their condition.

Professor Nutbeam continues: "We will put the needs of our community at the centre of all we do and are committed to collaborating with all partners to improve local health issues."

This initiative has also enabled the Faculty to develop a programme for submission to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for a ‘Wessex Collaboration in Applied Health Research and Care' (CLAHRC). This was submitted on the 13th May on behalf of the Health Sciences and Medicine Faculties with University Hospital Southampton, supported by Wessex NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups.

If successful it will provide £18m of funding and resources to improve the application of health research into practice settings in Wessex and involve the Faculty in the national programme of applied health research development.

Notes for editors

You can see the HIEC's achievements at and review the AHSN proposals at

The Wessex AHSN comprises:

NHS Trusts: Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust, South Central Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG): Dorset CCG, Fareham and Gosport CCG, Isle of Wight CCG, North Hampshire CCG, North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, Portsmouth CCG, South East Hampshire CCG, Southampton CCG, West Hampshire CCG, Wiltshire CCG, Wessex Commissioning Board Area Team

Universities: Bournemouth University, Southampton Solent University, University of Portsmouth, University of Southampton, University of Winchester

Wider network membership: Industry, LETB, Local authorities, Third sector organisations

Department of Health guidance on AHSNs can be found at:

DH, Academic Health Science Networks, June 2012 found at (accessed 17th April 2013).

For further information contact:

Becky Attwood , Media Relations, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 5457, 07545 422512, email:

Follow us on twitter:

Follow me on twitter:

Like us on Facebook:

Privacy Settings