AHSN NENC enters new era under new name

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria is entering a new era under a new name…welcome to Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria (HI NENC).

Following the successful five-year relicence of England’s 15 regional AHSNs, the organisation is moving into its next phase under the new moniker, which reflects our key role in supporting the development and spread of innovation across the region’s health service.

While our name is changing, what we do and how we work, is not. We will continue to work collaboratively with partners to identify, develop, evaluate and drive the adoption of health innovation.

Our vision remains the same: to improve health outcomes, reduce inequalities and boost the regional economy.

HI NENC will remain part of a national network of 15 organisations who will deliver innovation services within their regions, under the Health Innovation Network.

Dr Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer at HI NENC, said: “It’s an exciting time for our organisation as we continue our work within the health and social care system under a new name. I can assure everyone that our team, our values, our ethos and our vision remain unchanged.

“As Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria, we will have a renewed determination and dedication to delivering our mission. We will continue to work collaboratively across the region to accelerate health innovation which improves people’s lives and the regional economy, as we have for the last 10 years.”

Set up in 2013 by NHS England to act as innovation arms of the NHS, AHSNs worked locally and nationally to support the spread of all types of innovation within the NHS, from new technologies to ways of working and service improvements. Under the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Science, Innovation and Technologies’ joint commission – the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) – AHSNs also provided bespoke support to innovators to accelerate promising innovations from development to adoption and boost economic growth.

AHSNs began working collectively as the national AHSN Network from 2018, when the first set of national programmes were adopted. Since then, AHSNs have delivered 11 national adoption and spread programmes and supported the rapid uptake of 28 NICE-approved products. These initiatives alone have benefited more than 2.3 million patients. AHSNs have also helped to leverage investment of more than £1.8bn for UK Plc in the same timeframe.

In May this year, NHS England announced that it was commissioning the newly named Health Innovation Network, for a further five years, until 2029. The new licence came into effect on 1 October 2023.