Press Office


Ideas to improve the health and wealth of our region


We are part of a new network which will ensure that innovative ideas within the NHS are turned into treatments, accessible technologies and medicines.

The Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North East and North Cumbria has been announced today by NHS England involving experts at Newcastle University.

It will ensure that the best possible use will be made of precious NHS resources and will ensure that the most advanced treatments, technologies and medicines are available to patients.

The AHSN is an organisation of key core members including the NHS Foundation Trusts, Universities and the Clinical Commissioning Groups across the North East and North Cumbria and has the aim of harnessing and influencing innovation across the region.

It presents a unique opportunity to pull together the adoption and spread of innovation with clinical research and trials, informatics, education, and healthcare delivery.

Using research, innovation and the dissemination of knowledge the Network will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people living here, as well as contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive of The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Interim Chair of the AHSN said: “Approval as an Academic Health Science Network serves to reflect the strong position of our region and shall be the platform to promote, enhance and translate innovation and best practice across the healthcare spectrum. This should enable rapid benefit for patients, education, training and industry alike.

“It will provide the funding needed for the talented individuals who work within the NHS to turn their brilliant ideas into treatments that are used every day across the health service.”

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Chris Day said: "This network will facilitate and fund the spread and adoption of advances in medical care, arising from the world class research we do in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and our partner Trusts throughout the region.

"We also hope that by providing access to 3.5 million patients and the medical expertise within the region the AHSN will attract significant inward investment from the Pharma, diagnostics and devices industries thus aiding the economic recovery of the NE and Cumbria region."

The success of the North East and North Cumbria has been announced today alongside the approval of 14 other AHSNs covering the whole of England. The AHSNs will share a common ethos to help develop solutions to healthcare problems and get existing solutions spread more quickly by building strong relationships with the regional scientific and academic communities and industry.

NHS England’s Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson, said: “The NHS is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas. To spread ideas right across the NHS means working collaboratively with all those who have an interest.

“AHSNs offer a more systematic delivery mechanism so that innovation spreads quickly and successfully through the NHS, making the best possible use of precious NHS resources and in ensuring the most advanced treatments, technologies and medicines are available to patients.”

Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for The Department of Health said: “The 15 AHSNs will have a major role in improving patient outcomes and population health right across the country through faster identification, adoption and spread of proven innovations and best practice. This will be achieved through collaboration within each AHSN and across AHSNs, and through working collaboratively with industry.
“The AHSNs provide an important mechanism for achieving a step-change in the way the NHS translates research, innovation and best practice into effective and cost-effective treatments and services for patients.”

The ultimate aim of the AHSN will be to help develop better technology and make better use of the skills of NHS staff, providing it with the tools necessary to tackle head-on, the changing needs of the population and ensuring that patients get the care they deserve.

Read here further details of the plans for the AHSN.


published on: 24 May 2013