Sharing impact stories

In her latest blog, Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive of the West of England AHSN celebrates the ever-growing community of innovators and improvers across the region who shape and drive our work and have shared their stories in our new online impact review for 2021-22.

Providing a simple ‘elevator pitch’ for our AHSN isn’t easy. Whenever I ask my communications team to come up with something short and succinct for me, they generally challenge back by saying it depends on who we’re talking to, which I must admit is a fair point.

Our AHSN works with so many different people, teams, organisations and sectors – how and what we collaborate on will vary depending on their need and starting point. That’s part of the beauty of the work we do and our approach.

I recently moved house and, when meeting our new neighbours and making new friends, I’ve been having to describe what we do a lot. My go-to phrase has been “we support the NHS to adopt proven innovations that improve safety, efficiency and make the services better for patients and if there isn’t a proven solution, we work with innovators to create and test one”. I think that’s a pretty good summary, and I’m sure my communications team will thank me for that later!

But while I’m rather proud of that description, I acknowledge there’s no way we can convey in a sentence the depth and breadth of the work we’re involved in and the vast range of people across the West of England that get involved in shaping, driving and delivering what we do together.

This is why creating and publishing our impact review each year is so important to me and why I take great pride in pointing people to it. In part, it’s a marvellous celebration of what our regional health and care community has achieved together. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity to share the many stories of what that work means for people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and disciplines.

This year’s online impact review is no exception. It is rich with impact stories, from a very personal level to a much more wide-reaching, system-changing level. Whilst I do love the year in numbers section, it’s the stories that best describe for me our approach to healthcare innovation and improvement.

There’s a GP talking about our support to establish a diabetes community of practice; a community activist explaining how our AHSN has opened doors for them in working with the NHS to tackle health inequalities facing Black mothers and their babies; a patient contributor who acknowledges being involved in one of our projects as a ‘great achievement’ in her life – so much so it has encouraged her to pursue a career in nursing; and several commercial innovators who say they have benefited from our continued support as a critical friend over the years to develop and get their products into the NHS.

Those are just a handful of examples. Time and time again the experiences of those we’ve featured in this year’s impact review combine to paint a clear picture of a responsive, dynamic, proactive organisation that listens, supports ideas, connects people together to make things more than the sum of their parts and really make things happen that make a difference.

I hope you enjoy reading this year’s impact review and feel inspired by what we’ve achieved and the stories of those involved. I hope you will also want to join our ever-growing community of passionate healthcare innovators and improvers.

There is still much work to do. With our three Integrated Care Systems driving through massive changes including the creation of new Integrated Care Boards, I look forward to working closely with our system partners in exploring together how the development, adoption and spread of innovation can play a significant part and where it can add most value to the work of teams across the region in addressing local priorities.

We have also just published our refreshed business plan for the coming year, which details many activities we have already identified to tackle some of these priorities, as well as opportunities for us to continue engaging, listening and learning from colleagues across health and care, researchers and academics, the voluntary sector, patients and the public in shaping this work and directing proven innovation to where it is most needed.

I look forward to continuing on this journey with you.

Posted on June 13, 2022 by Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive, West of England AHSN

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