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Reflecting on 2019/20

Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive, West of England AHSN, introduces our  2019/20 annual review, with a look back over some of our achievements from the last year.

All of us working in healthcare are familiar with the concept that the only constant is change. However, this year it feels as though things may never be the same again as we come to terms with the long-term impact of COVID-19. Above all, AHSNs are agile organisations and we were able to respond to this new crisis almost overnight, providing additional support to our members and partners.

So, as much as we look back with pride at our achievements from 2019/20 in this review, we already have an eye on how we can turn these experiences to our advantage, helping our local systems develop and test new pathways of care that will keep us safe and well, while living alongside the virus.

In 2018, AHSNs were set a challenge to increase the uptake of seven tried and tested innovations across the country. No less than four of them started life in the West of England. I’m particularly proud of PReCePT, which nationally has led to an additional 1,106 mothers receiving magnesium sulphate, preventing an estimated 30 very preterm babies developing cerebral palsy.

Working as a cohesive, national network allows us to have a wide reach while maintaining a local focus. This is evident through the Patient Safety Collaboratives, hosted by AHSNs to promote safer care through quality improvement programmes. I’ve been delighted to be the national AHSN Network’s chief officer lead for a dedicated group of patient safety leads working in areas such as maternity and neonatal, medicines safety and the management of deteriorating patients.

This year has seen a change of gear, as we exceeded the targets we were set for the spread of these national programmes. Going forward, we have the capacity and renewed confidence to refocus on developing further local pipeline programmes.

Innovation is not a single action. We see it as a journey, and the innovation spiral as the map, guiding the way ideas are generated, tested and implemented, ultimately impacting the whole healthcare system. This year we launched a series of thought leadership events, ‘Future of Care’, which have already debated the potential of genomics and personalised medicine, and robotics and autonomous systems to deliver care in radically different ways.

We also relaunched our West of England Academy, which is open to all health and care professionals in our region and aims to support a culture of innovation within our member organisations, encouraging innovation to be seen as part of everybody’s business.

And we’re excited to be supporting two projects identified through our Evidence into Practice challenge for regional adoption and spread. PERIPrem is a new perinatal care bundle designed to improve the outcomes for premature babies, and SHarED will help reduce attendance rates and support the most frequent and high-impact users of emergency departments.

All of this work is made easier thanks to our supportive Board, which shapes and directs our work and includes representatives from many of our members. This year we said goodbye to James Scott and Ian Orpen and you can read some of their reflections here and meet our new Board members in Steve West’s Chair’s update.

You can read more about all of this in our annual review – you can read it as an online magazine here, or pick and choose your way through the contents here.

Please contact us to find out more about any projects that interest you and we look forward to working together in future.


Posted on September 10, 2020 by Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive, West of England AHSN

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