Role of the AHSN Network

The AHSN Network is a collaborative of the 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across England which were set up with the objective of supporting the adoption and spread of innovations in healthcare for the benefit of patients and the wider NHS. Through the support of innovations deriving from UK life sciences expertise, AHSNs also have the role of facilitating economic growth through the creation of the jobs required to develop and supply the innovations. The AHSNs were re-licensed by NHS England in May 2018 for a further five years. As a condition of their relicensing, AHSNs are required to deliver a series of national programmes involving technology and service redesign.

AHSNs also have a wider role in promoting and facilitating innovation in the NHS. To this end, the national AHSN Network and the ABPI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in September 2018. The MoU creates a commitment between the ABPI and the AHSN Network to work together to increase the ability of the NHS to embrace innovation to improve patient care.

As described in this document, each AHSN can help its local STPs and ICSs to articulate local health challenges in the form of a call to industry and by providing a robust process for selecting the best industry partner / partners to address the challenges identified.

Role of the ABPI

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK. We represent companies which supply more than 80 per cent of the value of all branded medicines used by the NHS and which are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.

The ABPI fully supports the goal of the NHS Long-term Plan to ‘create a service fit for the future’, able to embrace innovation, improve the health, wellbeing and longevity of the population and provide world-class standards of care.

We are working closely with NHS England and with NHS organisations across the country to maximise the broad contribution that our industry can make towards achieving this goal through developing ambitious cross-sector collaborations, helping to develop an innovation-ready NHS and helping to build UK health data assets.

The ABPI is a co-signatory to the 2018 MoU with the AHSN Network and works alongside the AHSNs to create the conditions where cross-sector collaboration can flourish. The ABPI’s Code of Practice governs pharmaceutical industry interactions with stakeholders and we also provide detailed guidance on practical considerations regarding cross-sector working. We represented industry in developing the NHS England Conflicts of Interest guidance, which enables NHS personnel to continue to work innovatively with partners whilst also providing transparency to the taxpayer. On behalf of industry, we also manage the Disclosure UK database, which sets out payments and other benefits in kind made by industry to healthcare professionals and NHS organisations. We do not, however, play any part in advance assessment of individual cross-sector collaborations or in overseeing individual projects while they are active. Decisions to work together rest entirely with individual ICSs / STPs and the company or companies involved.