Several underpinning themes can be seen throughout our work programmes and priorities. As a Network, we are committed to developing and supporting best practice approaches in these areas and are dedicated to being a driving force to bring about progress. These priorities are:

Diversity and inclusion – We are committed to increasing diversity in health and care innovation. Supporting diversity allows the innovation landscape and NHS to better reflect the communities we serve, and in turn, enabling diversity and inclusion are imperative to understanding and addressing health inequalities. As a Network, we committed to a set of diversity pledges to hold ourselves to account for the way we identify and nurture innovations and the innovators behind them. They ensure we consider all members of our communities when establishing new approaches.

Health inequalities – We work regionally and nationally to reduce health inequalities and ensure our work aligns to the Core20PLUS5 approach and beyond.

Patient and public involvement and co-design – It’s essential that we design and spread innovation that transforms healthcare in partnership with patients, the public, carers, and communities. This has always been high on our agenda, and we have further plans to bring diverse perspectives together and listen to people’s experiences and insights.

Digital solutions and AI – Digital solutions and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to make services more accessible, make it easier for people to self-manage their health conditions, help people connect and collaborate across organisational barriers, encourage physical activity, and so much more. The AHSNs have a wealth of expertise in digital and AI solutions and are committed to being at the forefront of this agenda, helping the system realise the art of the possible.

Workforce – The health and care workforce is the backbone of services. Across our Network, we recognise the significant impact that supporting efficiencies and training the workforce can have.

Sustainability and the environment – In acknowledgement of its impact on the environment, the NHS has committed to becoming carbon net-zero by 2040 and to making other changes to become more sustainable. We are committed to supporting more sustainable and environmentally conscious healthcare and look to use expertise in innovation to help the system respond and adapt to this challenge.

Patient safety – Our commitment to patient safety isn’t just embodied through our Patient Safety Collaboratives but is an essential element throughout all of our work.

Illustration. Text reads: In 2021-22 we: Engaged with more than 1,000 delegates through our environmental sustainability sharing and learning events. Developed a framework to ensure patient involvement and co-production is considered and embedded from programme initiation. Undertaken work to enact our diversity pledges and have used our experiences to revise and update these pledges for the year ahead.

Read our impacts stories for this area below or visit the AHSN Network Impact Report 2021-22 main page.