News from the Oxford Academic Health Science Network
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Newsletter Issue 22 - August 2015

Prof Gary Ford, Chief Executive, Oxford AHSNWe're focusing on radical change to achieve better care

by Prof Gary Ford, Chief Executive,
Oxford Academic Health Science Network

Our monthly newsletters have been a useful barometer of activity and progress over the last two years - it’s increasingly difficult to find room for all the significant developments each month. Many of our workstreams are now delivering tangible results. We are strengthening relationships with partners across our region, focusing on supporting the development of innovation in care pathways and continuous improvement in patient safety. By identifying and pulling in innovation from the academic and commercial sectors, we will help our NHS partners achieve improved outcomes for patients and better value to meet the aims of the NHS Five Year Forward View. We are working with Wessex AHSN colleagues to prepare a bid for an NHS England testbed programme to implement and evaluate combinations of innovations to keep people well and out of hospital.

Highlights in this newsletter include:
  • a review of our first Alumni Summit – we were delighted with the positive feedback from those who attended
  • well-deserved national recognition for our patient leaders
  • details of how our Anxiety and Depression Network is helping many more people recover and return to their lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read our updates. If you find our newsletter useful, please spread the word by forwarding it to colleagues – or encouraging them to register here. We welcome your feedback too.

Returning alumni and life sciences minister impressed with Oxford AHSN summitLife sciences minister George Freeman addresses the Oxford AHSN Alumni Summit at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

The Oxford AHSN brought together key alumni of universities in our region who are now working overseas for a special event to explore new opportunities for collaboration and progress in tackling 21st century healthcare challenges such as dementia, diabetes and heart failure.

Discussions at the first Oxford AHSN Alumni Summit last month also included colleagues from research, industry and the NHS.
The Minister for Life Sciences, George Freeman MP, was a special guest. At a reception at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, he said: “Something very special is going on here ... in this AHSN. The life sciences sector is doing extraordinary things. It's all built on brilliant science with joined up activity and thinking."
Feedback from participants included:
  • “I really enjoyed the conference – I made some very helpful business connections”  Dr Heather Preston, Managing director, TPG Biotech
  • “It was a fantastic event and I have left thoroughly inspired”  Dr William Do, young innovator and junior doctor
  • “The conference was very timely and I have had offers of collaborations and business advice already”  Prof Sarah Blagden, University of Oxford Department of Oncology
The main activities took place at the Said Business School where there were wide-ranging discussions on topics including genomics, diagnostics, precision medicine and critical diseases. Prof John Bell, left, chairs a panel at the Oxford AHSN Alumni SummitOxford AHSN Chief Executive Prof Gary Ford reminded the audience: “The NHS is not just a consumer – it contributes to a thriving UK life sciences sector.”
The opening and closing sessions were led by Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, who said the Alumni Summit had brought together a ‘remarkable mix of people’. He added: “There is a huge engine for innovation in the south east UK. We need to find new ways to talk to each other and work together. This has been a terrific way to start that dialogue.” A report and video from the event will be available shortly.

PPIEE: Two of our patient leaders named in top 50

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) announced its first top 50 Patient Leaders last month, celebrating their role in shaping and influencing the NHS. Among them were Carol Munt and Mark Stone from the Thames Valley Patient Experience Strategy Group.
Dr Sian Rees, Director of Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Experience (PPIEE) at Oxford AHSN, said: “This is well-deserved recognition - their impact has been immeasurable. They push us to work differently, challenge the status quo and ensure that new work includes patients from the beginning.
Carol said: “I believe that the NHS is a valuable national asset and it must stay close to its origins as a public service. Yet the service also needs to adapt as demands on it increase. The choices our health commissioners make are influenced by patients, and we need more people to get involved.”
Neil Churchill, NHS England’s Director for Improving Patient Experience salutes the new awards recognising patient leaders, said: “Patient leaders use their own personal experiences to campaign for better services for others; they provide a powerful voice for patient and carer groups and charities that agitate and inform - and they do all these things largely as volunteers, for no other reason than they want to make a difference and bring about change.”
The Thames Valley Patient Experience Strategy Group oversees the work of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), NHS England South (Central), the Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) and Clinical Senate to support the delivery of high quality care and research through the active involvement and engagement of patients, carers and the public.

BEST CARE: More recover from anxiety & depression

A ten per cent increase in recovery rates for people experiencing anxiety and depression has been achieved thanks to the work of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network Anxiety and Depression Clinical Network.
In 2014 the Oxford Academic Health Science Network Anxiety and Depression Clinical Network set out to increase the average recovery rate by 5%. By June 2015 an average increase in recovery rate of 10% had been achieved (from 48% to 58%) across the Oxford AHSN region as a whole.
This means that each month an additional 173 people have been successfully treated for anxiety and depression and are now able to make long-term plans for their lives with greater confidence.
The recovery rate in the Oxford AHSN region compares favourably with the national rate which remained constant at 45% during this period.
Oxford AHSN Chief Executive Prof Gary Ford said the success was due to a number of key factors including: the collection of comprehensive data, high quality research, links with professional networks and access to training. “They are an exemplar to improve outcomes and reduce variation,” he said.
This work has been recognised at a national level by both the NHS and government. The approach is ongoing with a commitment to achieve further improvements in recovery rates. In the most successful areas the recovery rate increased by 20% – the challenge is to match that across the whole Oxford AHSN region.
> Read more about this and other success stories in our latest quarterly update report

BEST CARE: Invitations open for potential new clinical networks

The Oxford AHSN set up ten clinical networks in 2014, initially funded for two years, to identify and tackle unwarranted variation in outcomes and practice, promote health equality and spread best practice across our region by establishing sustainable partnerships with service providers, patients, commissioners, public health bodies, academics and industry.
We are starting a review process to identify the clinical networks that we will support from 2016-2018. As part of this, we are inviting potential new networks to come forward with their ideas and initiatives. The deadline for applications is 24 September. Interviews will take place on 5/6 October.
Keep an eye out for updates in this newsletter, via the Oxford AHSN website and Twitter feed and through communications channels within your own organisation.

Further information:

TEST BEDS: We're working to identify best ideas

The Oxford AHSN is continuing to work with clinical leaders, innovators and colleagues at Wessex AHSN to identify the best ideas for keeping people well and out of hospital as part of the ongoing national test bed programme. We are focusing on using digital, diagnostics and precision medicine innovation – backed by effective harnessing of big data – to improve patient outcomes, experience and safety in four areas:
  • People with and at risk of long-term conditions including use of psychological therapies
  • Reducing childhood hospital admissions
  • Reducing hospital admissions in people with respiratory disease
  • Improving quality of life, reducing mortality and disability after stroke.

Have your say

You have until 7 August to give your views on the Oxford AHSN in a survey being carried out by YouGov for NHS England.

New web content

Latest information added to the Oxford AHSN website includes details relating to this year's flu immunisation programme for children.

FUNDING: Latest opportunities

Competition for development contracts from Innovate UK and SBRI
Innovate UK is to invest up to £10m in a two-phase competition to promote the development of new diagnostic products and services for use in stratified medicine. This SBRI competition aims to accelerate and/or increase the development and adoption of innovative diagnostic tools in order to offer better targeted treatment to patients within the UK healthcare system. It also aims to demonstrate the benefits of companies working within the UK ‘enabling infrastructure', which is made up of specialist organisations that can help companies understand healthcare needs and design, evaluate and deliver their products and services into the NHS.

SBRI Healthcare’s competition: Older People with multiple morbidities
SBRI Healthcare logoThe SBRI Healthcare competition ‘Older People with Multiple Morbidities’ closes on 11 August. This competition focuses on:
  • addressing functional needs in the elderly
  • faecal and urinary incontinence in frail elderly people
  • minimising the impact of falling 
NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes
The 2015 NHS Innovation Challenge Prize programme aims to identify innovations – including new care pathways, services or technologies – that have potential for widescale spread and adoption. This first wave of funding focuses on cancer care, along with an ‘acorn’ fund for smaller scale initiatives that could have big impacts. Oxford AHSN can support and advise applicants in finalising their submissions. The deadline for applications is 14 September. Further information:

Oxford Trust Enterprise awards
The Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards recognise contributions in science, technology and innovation. Deadline: 11 September. Prizes total £10,000. Details here >

TRAINING: We’re working with Buckinghamshire New University on a new course to help healthcare innovators

The Oxford AHSN is working with Buckinghamshire New University to deliver a new course: Practical innovating in healthcare settings’. The aim is to help frontline healthcare staff identify innovations and innovative projects that deliver better care for patients and add value to the NHS. The programme is funded by Health Education Thames Valley and is free to successful applicants. It has two modules:
  • An introduction to clinical innovation in healthcare settings
  • Delivering and sustaining innovation in healthcare settings
The course, which runs for 12 months from February 2016, is open to colleagues in NHS organisations engaged with innovation, service improvement and service redesign.
There will be an opportunity to find out more at an open evening in September – details to follow.
Students who complete the ‘Practical innovating in healthcare settings’ programme will gain 60 Masters level academic credits towards a full Master’s degree at Bucks New University.
Contact Lauren Davis: or Sue Procter:

Apply now for CLAHRC leadership training course

The Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Oxford is running a course spread over four days in September and October to help current or future healthcare leaders develop new skills. Deadline: 10 August. Details here >

EVENTS: Coming soon...key dates for your diary

22 September: Oxford AHSN Partnership Board meeting, Bucks

24 September: TTIP - what it means for life sciences, Oxford

30 September: Novel markers and tech for better patient care, Harwell


Further ahead...
October - Oxford AHSN digital healthcare event
November - CLAHRC Oxford Symposium

December - Oxford AHSN physical health event

Visit our Events pages for more details

News you may have missed...

  • Oxfordshire companies Immunocore and Nanopore secure multi-million private fundraising deals

Look out for the next Oxford AHSN newsletter in September

Contributions welcome

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