A report capturing the AHSN experience during the coronavirus pandemic has been published as part of the AHSN’s Health and Care Reset campaign to inform leaders across the NHS as it enters the next phase of the pandemic response.

The AHSN Network Health and Care Reset Campaign was launched to collate and spread learnings and insights from identifying, evaluating, and spreading innovations and new ways of working during the pandemic.

Although focused on the experience during the pandemic, the report looks to the future by offering recommendations based upon lessons learnt during the pandemic to help realise the vision for a more innovative health and care system of the future.

Our campaign complements and builds upon NHS Confederation’s NHS Reset Campaign, which the AHSN Network collaborated on last year in conjunction with the Health Foundation, looking specifically at best practice and innovation in supporting the pandemic response.

The AHSN Network report, which was compiled following a series of co-ordinated research activities, focusses on nine key themes in health innovation. Across these themes, 10 overarching recommendations emerged which we believe are key enablers for supporting the recovery of services as we emerge from the pandemic.

Richard Stubbs, Vice Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive Officer of Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, led the campaign on behalf of the AHSNs. He said: “We’ve seen from the pandemic experience that the health and care system has the ability to adopt innovations in order to do things differently and to tackle its biggest challenges.

“The health and care system is still under a period of sustained pressure and this will remain for some time. Our brilliant workforce is tired and showing signs of burnout. We can support our staff and address the backlog better by finding ways to work smarter, not harder: adopting proven and evidenced based innovation at scale is one way of achieving this. The AHSN Network and individual AHSNs are well-placed to support the system to do this, particularly as the NHS continues to face additional emerging and developing challenges in the wake of the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, we saw significant and rapid changes in the way care is delivered and the workforce operates. We now have an opportunity to capitalise on this learning to inform the health and care system of the future.

“We need to identify and evaluate changes and innovations adopted throughout the pandemic to recognise those that should be sustained over the long term and help maximise their impact, as well as being honest about what didn’t work too. Individual AHSNs are here to support local systems and drive sustainability of these changes, whilst working together within the national AHSN Network to ensure insights and learnings are shared across the country.”

The nine themes featured in the AHSN Network Health and Care Reset Campaign are: spread and adoption of innovation; collaboration between industry and health; rapid evaluation; impact of coronavirus on patient safety; digital as an enabler for change; what’s needed now in co-production; the pandemic’s impact on health inequalities; the flexibility and achievements of the health and care workforce and the opportunity to reassess the health and care system.

Across all these themes a number of core recommendations emerged, including the need to embrace and value change; the importance of devolved leadership and decision-making; removing barriers to change to facilitate adoption of innovation and addressing population need to tackle health inequalities.

The report brings together work being conducted by individual AHSNs and the wider Network. Across the country, all 15 AHSNs continue to work closely with their local health and care systems to support and drive the recovery and reset at a regional level.

Read the full report, or executive summary or join us for our session at Confed 2021.

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