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It’s been a busy few months at Eastern AHSN as we have continued to partner with colleagues in our regional health and care system. With the return to school and the restrictions on office life and travel lifted, some of you may feel considerable optimism compared to the restrictions that we all faced this time last year. But we are well aware of the pressures that those of you working in direct care roles and settings will be under. Much of our recent activity has therefore focused around the big challenges of the elective waits and how to diagnose and treat patients in remote settings. We are in the initial stages of looking at the possibilities of using an AI-enabled tool to triage the wait lists whilst also having regard to deterioration risk and minimising harm. We have also showcased outstanding examples from two of our region’s hospital trusts on how they have rolled out virtual wards to treat both Covid and non-Covid patients.  


We have a core convening role of encouraging and enabling our regional health and care systems to work more closely together through considering the role of innovation and ultimately helping to create a culture of innovation with the ultimate objective of improving population health. This is particularly important in the context of the emerging integrated care systems (ICSs), which are due to become enshrined in law before the end of the current financial year.

To this end, we have recently concluded a collaboration with the NHS Leadership Academy in the East of England to bring together professionals working across health and care to support the embedding of collaborative, compassionate and inclusive leadership within developing ICSs. Delivered virtually over three sessions, ‘Leading for change - the big collaboration’ explored the concept of collective innovation and developing high-performing integrated teams, showcasing the leadership skills and behaviours that health and care leaders will need for the successful integration of services across health, social care and the third sector. We are delighted that over 700 of you registered to attend these sessions.

Please read on to see some of the highlights since out last newsletter.

Piers Ricketts
Chief Executive, Eastern AHSN

Prioritising mental health funding

Putting leadership at the heart of integrated care

As integrated care systems (ICSs) take a leadership role in the planning of local health and care systems, Eastern AHSN partnered with the East of England NHS Leadership Academy and the six ICSs in our region to discuss what this means for leaders. Leading for care integration – the big collaboration brought together more than 700 health and care staff from the East of England virtually across three dates to address some of the biggest challenges and opportunities we face as we further integrate services.

Meeting the challenges of living with a rare disease

Eastern AHSN partnered with the Cambridge Rare Disease Network (CRDN) to run a live pitching session at RAREsummit21, which convenes patients, advocates, healthcare professionals, investors, researchers, academics and leaders in the rare disease space.

One of our priorities to address the everyday issues our citizens face through better use of innovation. To do so effectively, we needed to listen to those with lived experience to understand their challenges. We gathered insights provided by the rare disease community through a survey launched last year at the CRDN’s RAREfest20 event. These insights were developed into specific challenges which we put to the innovation community.

The session featured five selected innovators with solutions identified as having the potential to improve the lives of people living with rare diseases, inviting feedback from the community and an expert panel.


Innovation hub set to drive healthcare improvements for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Over the summer, the Health Foundation announced a new hub for innovation and improvement as part of a national programme to ensure that people using services benefit faster from effective healthcare technology and practice. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) has been chosen to host one of four UK hubs, with joint leadership from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) and Eastern AHSN. Each hub has been awarded up to £475,000 by the Adopting Innovation programme to help improve health and care services over two and a half years.

Report highlights successful roll-out of self-monitoring pathways

A report has been published that summarises two programmes supported by Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the learning that was gathered from both initiatives. 

COVID-19 patient safety response looks at the roll-out of two patient self-monitoring pathways, COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards, both designed to allow vulnerable people’s care to be managed safely at home. This followed the successful spread of a tracheostomy care bundle, designed to support staff, in expectation of a rising number of COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation.

Supporting the healthcare workforce to develop innovative ideas

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme is now open to applications. The programme is aimed at NHS staff and includes mentoring, events, workshops and professional development to help participants achieve their goals.


Eastern AHSN winners at Communiqué awards 2021

Last month Eastern AHSN were given an award for ‘Excellence in Corporate Communications – external stakeholders’ at the prestigious Communiqué awards and also shortlisted at the NHS Communicate Awards for digital communications.


On our blog...

Jo Dempsey

Five key tips on navigating NHS procurement

For an innovator, knowing how to approach the NHS can be the hardest part of your innovation journey. Jo Dempsey, Commercial Enterprise Lead at Eastern AHSN, offers five tips for introducing your innovation to NHS procurement in this blog.


State your case: Seven questions every innovator needs to ask themselves

Philip Shelton, Principal Advisor - Commercial Lead at Eastern AHSN, explains the essential questions innovators need to answer to develop a winning business case.


New quality improvement (QI) bitesize learning launched

We have partnered with the NHS Leadership Academy in the East of England to launch a series of bitesize sessions aimed at health and care professionals to share the principles and tools of quality improvement (QI). This fully-funded programme will feature four pre-recorded sessions by our Director of Quality improvement Caroline Angel, available to view on demand, with two live online Q&A opportunities.


Innovation grants and funding opportunities report

Whether you are a clinical entrepreneur, a start-up or an academic, we know how important it is for innovators to access capital to develop your ideas and scale your business. But with so any options out there, where do you start and who should you trust?

Eastern AHSN have developed our grant opportunities report to help you know what may be available, packed with the latest grants and wider funding opportunities from across our networks.



Insight to impact innovator masterclass: product development and intellectual property

11 November 2021, 9.30am-12.15pm

Do you know how to protect intellectual property? Starting with an overview of the product development process, this masterclass will cover a variety of topics to help you to build strong foundations for your idea and give you the knowledge you need to ensure your product is protected along its route to market.


Innovator workshop: understanding funding

We have partnered with the NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) to offer two fully-funded workshops to share funding opportunities available to innovators in different care settings and the often-overlooked elements of writing a strong application.

Find out more:


Thank you for supporting us as we continue to turn great ideas into positive health impact.

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