What is the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN)?

We bring together the wider healthcare community across the West of England (health and social care, industry, higher education, research bodies, patients and the wider public) to deliver positive healthcare outcomes by encouraging the development and adoption of innovation, supporting the adoption and spread of evidence-informed practice and driving economic growth through collaboration and partnership. 

There are 15 AHSNs across England, established by NHS England to spread innovation at pace and scale. As the only bodies that connect NHS, academic organisations, the third sector, industry and the public, we are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate chance across whole health social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients.

What do we do?

Our work falls into six main areas:

• Bringing innovation into practice
• Enhancing patient safety
• Involving our patients and the public
• Creating a more joined-up health service
• Taking an evidence-informed approach to healthcare
• Skills & knowledge development.

How can you get involved?

There are many opportunities for you to play an active and valuable part in our work. We have ongoing projects to improve patient care in all our acute trusts and in the wider health community. We can put you in touch with the lead in your clinical area.
We are also leading a number of quality improvement projects, which provide opportunities for research, as well as training and coaching in QI methodology through the West of England Academy.

National Early Warning Score (NEWS)

If you work in an acute trust, you may have noticed that some trusts have changed from their existing early warning score to the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) as a tool to recognise the deteriorating patient. This is to ensure all trusts in the West of England use the same approach and is the basis for a much larger project across the system, which aims to use NEWS at point of contact with acutely unwell patients and at each handover of care.

We launched our NEWS project in April 2015 and since then have introduced NEWS into the ambulance service electronic patient record, which is being rolled out across our area, and we are introducing it to ED departments as part of an ED safety checklist. Mental health trusts and some community providers have starting using it along with some GP out-of-hours services.

Our vision is that a NEWS score is used in the community either by a GP, community nurse or the ambulance service and depending on the score, the patient ends up in the right place at the right time with appropriate escalation along the patient journey.

We are also using NEWS score as a link to recognition of sepsis. Our aim is for all our healthcare organisations to use the ‘Sepsis Six’ care bundle or other agreed evidence informed practice to reduce the number of people dying. We are involving as many partners as possible both in the NEWS project and in its evaluation, as it offers huge scope for research. As trainees, there are opportunities to get involved whatever specialty you work in, as the project involves the whole health community

For information on who is leading this in your organisation or speciality please contact: ellie.wetz@weahsn.net.

How can you get involved?

The West of England Academy

Our West of England Academy aims to continually increase the number of healthcare professionals across the region with the skills and knowledge to deliver longterm, sustainable improvements in patient care using quality improvement methodology.

The Academy offers quality improvement training and there are opportunities to train as an improvement coach.

For information about how the West of England Academy can support you in learning about quality improvement, please contact david.evans@weahsn.net.

Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative

The Emergency Laparotomy Collaborative is a two year quality improvement project, aimed at improving standards of care and outcomes for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy, in partnership with Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) and Wessex AHSNs. The target is to save 1,000 lives over two years. 

The aim of the collaborative is to spread the learning from the Emergency Laparotomy Pathway Quality Improvement Care (ELPQUIC) bundle. This was a study where four hospitals introduced a care bundle and reduced mortality for patients undergoing emergency
laparotomy. All six acute hospitals in the West of England are adopting the bundle, which includes measuring lactate on presentation, early treatment of sepsis, timely surgery, goal directed fluid therapy in theatre, consultant lead care throughout and post-operative ITU for all. 

There are opportunities to work on aspects of the pathway whether you are based in the emergency department, radiology, acute ward, theatre or ITU. For information on who is leading this work in your organisation or speciality please contact kevin.hunter@weahsn.net.

Find out more

For more information about these programmes or any other aspect of our work, we’d love to hear from you, so that we can link you up with people within your own organisation who are already engaged.

Contact Peter Dixon in the West of England AHSN’s patient safety team at peter.dixon@weahsn.net or call 0117 900 2604.

Visit our website: www.weahsn.net