NHS England and Improvement and the Office for Life Sciences commissioned research to explore and evaluate the views of AHSN stakeholders. Savanta ComRes conducted this independent evaluation. With input from AHSNs and commissioners, they developed and ran an online survey and telephone interviews. Those taking part were stakeholders in health and social care, private and voluntary sectors, national and local governance bodies, research and academia, patient groups and the general public.

Topics covered included familiarity with and perceptions of AHSNs, evaluations of AHSNs’ communications, services, support, work programmes and cross-regional working, and perceived opportunities and challenges for AHSNs in the future. Key findings are listed below.

Areas in which AHSNs perform well

  • There are high levels of satisfaction across all stakeholder groups related to strengthening partnerships across sector boundaries and facilitating the spread and adoption of innovation
  • AHSNs are effectively employing tailored models of communications and engagement with stakeholders
  • Staff within all AHSNs are seen by stakeholders as a significant asset, and are routinely described as approachable, helpful and responsive
  • AHSNs are collaborating with a growing network of individuals and organisations across the health and care sector.

Points AHSNs may wish to consider

  • There is currently a high degree of variability in how stakeholders describe their initial involvement with AHSNs
  • Stakeholders would like to learn about the National AHSN Network and the innovations within other AHSN areas that could support their objectives
  • Whilst appearing strong in engaging industry and research stakeholders, AHSNs are less visible with local government, patients and VCS organisations
  • Increasing visibility of innovation and best practice across AHSNs will help to demonstrate impact.

Download the national report here.

Each AHSN is also publishing their individual regional reports. Find a list of England’s 15 AHSNs here.