Relicensing of AHSNs confirmed

    May 26, 2023

    Today the Government has confirmed that that Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) are being relicensed for a further five year period as part of a broader commitment to science, research and innovation.

    Set up in 2013 by NHS England to act as innovation arms of the NHS, AHSNs work locally and nationally to support the spread of all types of innovation within the NHS, from new technologies to ways of working and service improvements. Under the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Science, Innovation and Technologies’ joint commission - the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) - AHSNs also provide bespoke support to innovators to accelerate promising innovations from development to adoption, and boost economic growth.

    The Health Innovation Network (HIN) is the AHSN for south London. In the last year we have supported over 70,000 patients to benefit from new treatment and diagnostics in south London. In addition, we have supported national programmes such as FREED which had resulted in all 54 mental health Trusts adopting this innovative programme, developed in south London, to support people with eating disorders.

    Dr Rishi Das-Gupta, HIN Chief Executive and Hitesh Thakrar, HIN Chair said: “Today’s announcement is very welcome and re-iterates the importance of AHSNs as part of the research, innovation and health and care infrastructure.

    “It also builds on statements by NHSE over the last year and the Hewitt Review last month which highlighted AHSNs as an essential function. It provides a renewed mandate to continue our AHSN work across south London, which forms a core part of the support we provide to the local health system as part of our work to support the spread and adoption of innovation across London and nationally and to innovators locally, nationally and internationally.”

    Professor Gary Ford, Chair of the AHSN Network said: “It is a testament to the collective impact of the AHSNs over the past 10 years that our commissioners have issued a further licence. We welcome the opportunity and challenge this provides for our teams to identify, develop and spread innovations that meet the priorities of the NHS over the next five years.

    “The challenges facing the NHS will only be met by widespread adoption of innovation in digital and diagnostic technology and in data to transform clinical pathways and empower patients.”

    The new license will come into effect from 1 October 2023 with the option of a review after two years.  As part of the new licence, AHSNs will be renamed health innovation networks. Each organisation will continue to support local innovation and transformation, working with their local integrated care boards (ICBs) while continuing to come together as a national network to spread promising solutions at scale.