The Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt was commissioned to lead an independent review of integrated care systems (ICSs) in November 2022. The Hewitt review, which launched earlier this month (April 2023), found that Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) should be seen as ‘integral’ in embedding innovation throughout the health and care system.

The report calls for ‘strengthening and embedding a culture of research and innovation in the health and care sector’, which places AHSNs at the centre of the recommendation: “Regional AHSNs should work together, and with the national AHSN Network to identify and spread best practice, innovative pathways, enabling each system to import proven interventions including from academia and industry from elsewhere in the country, while ensuring that their own innovative approaches become part of the wider pool.”

Gary Ford, Chair of the AHSN Network and Chief Executive of Oxford AHSN said: “We warmly welcome the findings and recommendations laid out in the Hewitt review. Healthcare innovation is vital to help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the NHS. The AHSN Network is committed to supporting and scaling the best innovations both locally and nationally to improve health outcomes for patients, building strong partnerships with NHS organisations such as ICSs and ICBs and achieving economic growth.

“This month marks AHSNs 10th anniversary, so it’s fantastic to receive this recognition at such a significant time.”

The review sets out considerations on the oversight and governance of ICSs in England and the NHS targets, priorities and mandates for which ICBs are accountable.

Read the Hewitt review.

The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) has published our case studies about how AHSNs are supporting their local ICSs.

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