Partner focus: West of England Academic Health Science Network

Who are the health and care organisations that make up BSW Together? Over recent issues, the Triangle has featured a mini profile of each of our partners, giving you an overview of the work they do and an understanding of how they are part of our health and care partnership. This month, we take a look at the West of England Academic Health Science Network.


The West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) brings together all the key players innovating health and care across BSW, Gloucestershire, and Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire. It is one of 15 AHSNs across the country, established by NHS England in 2013 to support the spread and adoption of innovation. Its priority has been to work across organisational and geographical boundaries, involving its network in both development and delivery to drive transformation that is based on genuine need.

Leadership team:

Natasha Swinscoe Chief Executive Officer, Ben Bennett Chief Operating Officer


Whilst many of the projects the AHSN is involved in are of national significance, its work is focussed on the West of England which covers three Integrated Care Systems (ICSs): Healthier Together Partnership (Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire), BSW Together (Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire) and One Gloucestershire.


Membership of the network includes all the NHS providers and commissioners across the West, as well as the universities of Bristol, Bath and the West of England. The AHSN also works closely with research organisations, industry, the voluntary sector, patients, carers and the public.

What does the West of England AHSN do?

The AHSN provides a wide range of support to the West of England’s healthcare sector to ensure the very best care and experience for patients and the provision of best value services. This covers areas including:

  • Supporting Innovation: The AHSN has earned a reputation for its ambitious, joined-up vision for healthcare innovation. They bring a whole system approach to matching innovation to locally identified challenges by connecting and brokering relationships between innovators, patients, carers, industry, academia and health and care professionals.
  • Transforming systems and services: This is high on the agenda for health and care communities and there are significant demands on organisations to work together to better to integrate services and streamline pathways for safer, more patient-centred care, supported by proven innovation while improving efficiency and reducing costs. The AHSN’s role is to aid and support healthcare systems and its member organisations through this journey as both a champion and critical friend. Areas of work underway include the management and identification of cardiovascular disease, polypharmacy and medicines safety, preventing surgical site infections, and blood pressure optimisation.
  • Improving patient safety: The AHSN hosts the West of England Patient Safety Collaborative whose work programme is informed by the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, and the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme. The AHSN’s goal is to ensure that local people can be confident that care is safe for patients and is based on a culture of openness, collaboration, continuous learning and quality improvement.

The AHSN is also involved in a number of other crucial areas including supporting digital transformation, the provision of innovation and improvement training and resources through the West of England Academy, support for the development of mental health services and primary care, and support for the VCSE sector.

Why is the West of England AHSN’s role in the BSW ICS important?

Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive of the West of England AHSN said: “We are dedicated to helping to deliver positive healthcare outcomes in the region and nationally by driving the development and adoption of new innovations and enabling patients to play an increasing role in their own care and of others.

“Being part of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care System means we work closely with all of the health and care providers in BSW and are able to offer our expertise and resources to encourage innovation and enhancing patient wellbeing.”

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