The ambitions, priorities and work programmes of the West of England AHSN are steered by our Board, comprising chief officer representation from our member organisations and industry partners.

We would like to thank James Scott and Ian Orpen who both stepped down from the Board this year for their hard work on behalf of the West of England AHSN, they have been instrumental figures in our work since the West of England AHSN was established back in 2013. Ian stepped down as our Board representative director for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and as Chair of Bath and North East Somerset CCG in June 2020 and James retired as Chief Executive of Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust in March 2020, having been Vice Chair of our Board since our organisation was established back in 2013.

Reflecting on his time as Vice Chair, James said:

One of the interesting things that you always look for in a board is the right senior people continuing to attend and contribute. At West of England AHSN board meetings they do, so the connections across geography, with the Applied Research Collaborative, are hugely important to us alongside our relationships with the universities. Those senior people still come and sit around the West of England AHSN table, so I feel that’s a testament to the fact that the board is active, functioning and focused on the right things. Overall, as a board we hope to add value.

“I’m not one for league tables, but certainly the commissioners of the AHSNs (NHS England) seem to think highly of the West of England AHSN. I believe they think that because the West of England AHSN is doing the right things – focusing on the right programmes and projects and doing them well. We also have a track record as some of our projects being rolled-out nationally (for example, PReCePT) – that’s fantastic and we’re really proud of that.”

Involved in the work of the West of England AHSN from the early days, Ian commented:

“The ethos of the AHSN has always been about adoption and spread of innovation. So consequently our discussions have involved how to effectively make those connections between innovators and industry and academia and encourage implementation across the wider healthcare system. As a new commissioner (CCGs were commissioned in 2013) I definitely felt like I could contribute a practical perspective. Sometime the innovations we discussed could seem remote from frontline practice, so I would keep an emphasis on practical benefits and the challenges of implementation. And to its credit I felt the AHSN listened and responded.”

“The AHSN also supported collaboration between system partners, moving us towards system working and in effect helping to establish a forum for Integrated Care System (ICS) development. It was the one place that wider senior system leaders could and did meet.”

The Chair of our Board, Steve West, considers the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and why AHSNs are ideally positioned to support not only system but also economic reset and recovery in a blog here:

Our Board pictured at their March 2020 meeting

L-R (seated): James Scott, (Vice Chair), Chief Executive, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust; Ian Orpen, Clinical Lead, Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICS (standing): Paddy Bradley, Director, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership; Tracy Cox, Chief Executive, Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG; Robert Woolley, Chief Executive, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust; Kay Haughton, Director of Service and System Transformation, West of England AHSN; Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive, West of England AHSN; Deborah Lee, Chief Executive, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Nigel Harris, Director of Innovation and Growth, West of England AHSN; Steve West, (Chair), Vice Chancellor, University of the West of England; Janet Rowse, Chief Executive, Sirona Care & Health; Anne Pullyblank, Medical Director, West of England AHSN; Mary Hutton, Accountable Officer, NHS Gloucestershire CCG and One Gloucestershire ICS Lead; Kyla Thomas, Clinical Director, Clinical Research Network West of England; Ben Bennett, Chief Operating Officer, West of England AHSN