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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Wessex Academic Health Science Network

Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are new organisations developed to drive innovation in the NHS and create wealth for the UK health economy through collaboration between industry, education, health and social care.

AHSNs began to take shape following Sir David Nicholson's 2011 review Innovation, Health and Wealth, which recommended the creation of "a more systematic delivery mechanism for diffusion and collaboration within the NHS by building strong cross-boundary networks". The rationale for this mechanism, local AHSNs, is to "align education, clinical research, informatics, training and education and healthcare delivery" and to "improve patient and population health outcomes by translating research into practice and developing and implementing integrated health care systems".

The Wessex AHSN, which builds on the work of Wessex Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC), aims to bring discovery and innovation into the regional health system to give the population improved health outcomes. At the time of writing we are waiting for formal approval to establish this new organisation from April 2013. We want to ‘catalyse the cross-boundary networks and accelerate the emergence of new technologies, services and wealth, whilst facilitating rapid knowledge exchange and uptake into education and training'. Key local health service priorities have been identified which our research knowledge can help in making significant improvements. These developments will need to be supported by improved training programmes and ultimately developments in the Faculty's education programmes.

The Wessex AHSN also offers considerable potential for interaction between the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine. Our partners have joined forces to accelerate and link the development of excellent research, high quality education and training, business and commercial investment, and best clinical practice. Plans include the development of a Centre for Implementation Science to be based here in the Faculty of Health Sciences, using research-based resources in the Wessex universities to identify future needs and solutions, develop effective vehicles for knowledge transfer, and comprehensively evaluate AHSN programmes for adoption of best practice.

We'll feature more information about the local impact of the Wessex AHSN and Centre for Implementation Science in the next newsletter. If you'd like to learn more about the development of these programmes in the meantime, please visit our websites or contact Charlotte Forder, Wessex HIEC Communications Officer, on ext 28307 (Room E2007, Building 67) or by emailing  

Wessex AHSN

Wessex HIEC

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