Review of 2021: innovating and improving together

It’s been another eventful and challenging year for everyone working in health and care.

In our capacity as drivers of improvement and innovation, it’s been a joy and a privilege for all of us at the West of England AHSN to be able to play an important role in supporting our health and care colleagues across the region to tackle these challenges together.

From our work with industry and innovators to help them introduce new solutions and ways of working into the NHS through to sharing experiences and best practice across our three Integrated Care Systems to respond to the ongoing pressures from Covid-19, our collaborative, joined-up approach has never been more necessary or impactful.

In our Review of 2021, we look back at some of the highlights of our partnership working over the last 12 months.

We’d like to thank everyone involved (our academic, research, industry, health and care, and voluntary sector colleagues, our staff team and clinical leads, as well as many patient and public contributors) for the vital part you played in these achievements and we look forward to continuing to innovate with you in 2022.

Supporting innovation

Our core mission as an AHSN is to speed up the pipeline for innovations so that the benefits are available to patients and clinicians sooner.

An integral part of work is helping innovators to navigate the NHS,  understand the current gaps and needs, and get meaningful feedback on their idea, product or service. This year we’ve been thrilled to see a number of companies we’ve supported over the years achieve success. Here are their stories…


CONfidence app launched to support the 1 in 5 UK adults experiencing continence issues


Revolutionary assistive technology allows people with neurological conditions to communicate using hidden ear muscle


LatchAid’s innovative breastfeeding app prescribed across NHS regions


Bath-based RIVIAM providing digital support to vaccine roll-out


West of England AHSN instrumental in generating £9.7 million of investment for the region


KiActiv selected for NHS scaling and named as one of Britain’s best digital health talents


NHSX releases digital playbooks featuring West of England innovator Carey McClellan’s getUBetter self-management platform


Two graduates of our Health Innovation Programme are winners of this year’s Women in Innovation Awards

Award-winning programmes

It’s been an exciting year for award recognition for the AHSN and our member and partner organisations.

PreciSSIon, our project to reduce surgical site infections after elective colorectal surgery, scooped a couple of national titles, while our support in the rollout of Covid Oximetry @home and virtual wards was recognised in the AHSN Network’s recent success at the HSJ Awards.

There was recognition too for PERIPrem, our perinatal care bundle developed in partnership with South West AHSN, which was highly commended at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards. Other work shortlisted included PReCePT (preventing cerebral palsy in preterm labour), the West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative, and our series videos to support the training of carers to identify deterioration and communicate concern.


Celebrations for PreciSSIon and PERIPrem at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards in September


PreciSSIon named Quality Improvement Team of the Year at the BMJ Awards 2021


AHSN Network’s Covid Oximetry @home programme wins at the HSJ Awards in November

Helping the system respond to Covid

Due to the strength of our network and our joined-up, collaborative approach, we have been in an ideal position to continue playing a key role in supporting our health and care colleagues in different parts of the system to respond to the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic.


Working collaboratively across the West of England to improve patient safety during Covid-19



Sharing lessons from setting up the Covid Virtual Ward service across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG)



We help develop two free e-learning resources to support detection of early deterioration of patients with Covid-19



Supported by all 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives, remote monitoring scheme reaches all eligible patients in England



Supporting our health and care workforce

In line with the NHS People Plan and the Long Term Plan, a key focus of our activity in the last year has been to work closely with our member and partner organisations to explore new ways of working and delivering care and how we better look after our people.


Evaluating innovative solutions to support the domiciliary social and health care workforce in real-world settings



Free mental health awareness training for care home managers across the West of England



Supporting NHS England’s Regional Workforce Programme to increase GP use of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD)

Building capacity and sharing knowledge

Our West of England Academy continues to deliver a range of informative, professional and
relevant education resources, help colleagues across our local healthcare systems and within our member organisations to think and work innovatively, and implement new ways of working using quality improvement (QI) methods and tools.

This year we have also recruited a new cohort of clinical leads, who support our projects and programmes with their expert clinical guidance. Clinical leads work with us on a part-time basis, whilst spending the majority of their working life in a clinical setting. This enables them to bring a level of insight that is often critical to the success of our work.


Meet our new clinical leads, supporting our projects and programmes with their expert clinical guidance


Our free online course focused on innovation in healthcare launches, developed in partnership with the University of Bath


New interactive workshop programme explores the successful adoption and spread of healthcare innovation, best practice or products


Quality improvement training for primary care colleagues



New online resources to help grow emotional resilience and support personal wellbeing



Helping colleagues to analyse and present data as part of a quality improvement project


New online creative problem-solving toolkit published to aid healthcare improvement and innovation

Improving management of long-term conditions

We are supporting NHS colleagues across the West to improve care for people with long-term conditions, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as exploring ways to support people to more effectively self-manage their conditions.


New child screening service to identify youngsters at risk of early heart disease



Tracheostomy community of practice supports improvements in patient safety


Funding awarded to help home COPD management



Helping to rollout Inclisiran, a new drug available through the NHS to lower cholesterol


Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

Our commitment to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda is a golden thread that needs to run through all our work programmes and manage our organisation.

This includes how we support our staff to be positive role models for equality and diversity, and this year we embarked on an enlightening programme of work with diversity consultants BCohCo to help our whole staff team grow in confidence.

We also want to better understand the impact of our work on all members of our communities and for our work to better reflect the needs of all the communities we serve in the West of England. Our work with Representation Matters and BCohCo to reduce inequity and improve maternity outcomes for Black women is an exciting example of this in action.



We partner with BCohCo to support our diversity and inclusion programme


We win Q funding to help improve maternity outcomes for Black mothers


Integrating and optimising care

Our approach to exploring ways to support the health and care system to more effectively integrate and optimise care always has partnership-working and collaboration at its heart, as these latest success stories demonstrate.


Our national event explores how we can improve safety and transparency in surgical innovation



We launch the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) Partnership for better health


Pathway Transformation Funding secured in West of England to support spread and adoption of proven innovations


PreciSSIon reduces surgical site infection rates by 50% with estimated savings of over £500k

Supporting mental health services

We are working with NHS commissioners and providers, industry partners, other AHSNs, local trusts, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and community providers on a wide range of initiatives to support their work to improve mental healthcare and well-being. These are a couple of highlights from the last year…


Celebrating SHarED: a positive impact on patients and ED staff


Our Collaborative brings together mental health teams to improve patient safety and health equity


Support for deteriorating patients

Much of our work in the last year to improve the management of patients who are at risk of deterioration was refocused to support the Covid-19 response.

This included support to our three integrated care systems to rollout Covid Oximetry @home and virtual wards, making use of our existing expertise, infrastructure and resources. We also provided training for care home staff and introduced new technologies to help them identify people most at risk of deterioration and how to take appropriate action.


Care home staff explain why our RESTORE2 training makes such a difference


Our West of England Learning Disabilities Collaborative celebrates their achievements from the last year



Using Baywater telehealth technology to improve support for residents of care homes for people with learning disabilities