Now that our partners across the NHS and social care are mobilising at scale in response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic, the role of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) is to support them by helping them take full advantage of the most relevant innovations and technologies that can improve care for patients and support our services in this challenging context.
Nationally, the AHSN Network is part of a coordinated NHS response to identify and enable the implementation of technologies that respond to areas of highest priority action, in particular solutions for remote consultation and patient monitoring, diagnostics and point-of-care testing. Similarly, in the regions each AHSN is part of a system-wide approach, led by our regional NHS offices, to support our local health and care organisations, including Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP). Our collective aim is connecting them with available solutions and offering up the specific operational or clinical skillsets of our teams where relevant. This includes our Patient Safety Collaboratives, who will be adapting their specialist skills towards keeping patients safe in these very demanding environments.
Do you have a potential COVID-19 related solution?
All AHSNs within the AHSN Network are actively supporting the NHS and social care system regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you would like advice on immediate or future needs, and how best to present your offer to local and/ or national commissioners, please contact the commercial team at your local AHSN via the AHSN Network Innovation Exchange or register on-line. Use the postcode checker to help you find your local AHSN.
The government has provided national guidance on where to register products to support the COVID-19 response. Please find these details below. You may also want to link into regional and local areas. If you wish to do this please contact your local AHSN either through your usual contact or by using our postcode finder.
PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
Contact the Surgical MedTech Co-operative (one of NIHR’s Medtech and In vitro diagnostics Co-operatives) if you have a technology that could be adapted quickly for the healthcare setting to help protect healthcare workers against aerosol contamination. Find out more about their ‘COVID-19 PPE Challenge’ here.
Contact Public Health England: email@example.com
Contact the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS): firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 456 3565
Innovation and Tech
Contact NHSX: DNHSX@nhsx.nhs.uk
Contact Public Health England: email@example.com
The UK government has set up a service allowing businesses to share any support that might help the COVID-19 response, from PPE and medical testing equipment to transport/logistics and warehouse space. Find out more here.
If you have any other solutions (not specifically COVID-19 related) that could be useful to the health and care system during this unprecedented time, you can access AHSN advice and support by visiting www.ahsninnovationexchange.co.uk.
Regional support by the SW AHSN
During this time of extreme operational pressure, the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN) is supporting its colleagues on the frontline and in planning and operations by offering the most appropriate assistance as and when required. This includes offering to support the implementation of technology to maximise the use of remote consultations and online guidance, freeing up valuable clinician time and reducing the risk of transmission.
The SW AHSN is focusing on areas critical to supporting our local system in South West England to respond to the spread of the coronavirus [COVID-19]. We have shaped our organisational offer to local primary care teams and are currently exploring with our regional NHS commissioners our potential to support monitoring of front line status to facilitate tactical decisions, as well as rapid cycle learning to support the spread of good practice.
In addition, the South West Patient Safety Collaborative, organised by the SW AHSN, is supporting the adoption of innovations for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as the implementation of a bundle comprising bedhead signs, care interventions and emergency equipment for patients with a tracheostomy.
Your South West AHSN team
Please note that as we realign staff from existing projects to areas critical to supporting our local system at this time, you may hear from SW AHSN employees or partners currently unfamiliar to you. These staff will be working to ensure you receive only relevant and useful communications.
The SW AHSN has closed its office at Vantage Point in Pynes Hill, Exeter, and has transitioned to home working for all staff. All face-to-face meetings have been switched to telephone and videoconferences, or postponed entirely, until further notice.
We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people in our region. With our skills in developing capacity and capability within health and care teams, strong partnerships with local organisations, as well as national support and guidance from our parent AHSN Network, we are in a unique position to facilitate tailored solutions to help enable the South West’s health and care system to manage the COVID-19 pandemic as best as it can.
Updating you with relevant information and offers of support
With the crisis changing on a daily basis, the SW AHSN, together with its delivery partners and fellow AHSNs under the AHSN Network, is monitoring the unfolding situation and national guidance to determine how to evolve our response.
We will be in touch as soon as we have confirmed packages of support to offer you. We are working closely with our national and regional NHS teams to coordinate this support, however if you would like to speak to us in the meantime please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are an organisation open to new ideas and learning, so if you have a suggestion for how we might support you to respond to the COVID-19 crisis at this time, we would welcome your thoughts.
Equally, as the SW AHSN fulfils its role in rapid learning and knowledge synthesis, if you have spotted a response to COVID-19 management in health or care that is working well, we would like to hear from you. Please email SW AHSN evaluation lead, Sarah Robens (email@example.com).