Professor Gary Ford Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Oxford AHSN

The AHSN Network has an extensive history in working to tackle the major cardiovascular risk conditions that if untreated can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events.

Since 2015, all 15 AHSNs have supported work on the detection and anticoagulation of atrial fibrillation (AF) leading to the avoidance of over 11,000 strokes.

Subsequently we have coordinated work improving lipid lowering management and improving the detection of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). People are now receiving more intensive cholesterol lowering therapy including innovative drugs in some cases, to reduce their risk of developing heart attacks or stroke.

However, the pandemic had an adverse impact on the detection and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors including hypertension. In June 2022, nearly 2 million fewer people with hypertension were recorded as being treated to target compared with the previous year (Quality and Outcomes Framework 20/21). This is why NHS England commissioned the AHSN Network to deliver this new national Blood Pressure Optimisation (BPO) programme building on our CVD portfolio of work to tackle this pressing health need.

It demonstrates our collective impact in delivering on our ambition to transform as many lives as possible through the rapid uptake of high value innovations. I extend my congratulations and thanks to all my colleagues from across the Network for their unwavering commitment to ensuring more patients benefit faster from innovation and service improvements that we support the health system to adopt.

Read the report

  • Ten principles of health equity for innovators

    “Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for ALL people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and social determinants of health — and to eliminate disparities in health and health care.” ( Within the NHS there [...]

  • Collaborating to improve access and equity of care for sickle cell sufferers

    Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious and lifelong health condition. People with SCD produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they do not live as long as healthy blood cells and can block blood vessels. This can result in suffers experiencing painful episodes, called sickle cell crises, as well as anaemia, [...]

  • Until tackling health inequalities becomes business as usual, innovation is our best chance of equity

    At the Royal Society of Medicine’s Tackling Inequalities conference it was clear from the passion in the room that great progress has been made across the system to better support some of our most under-served communities. To maintain this momentum, we must not just embed tackling health and healthcare inequalities in all that we do, [...]