Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) were first proposed in the report Innovation Health and Wealth by Sir David Nicholson, then Chief Executive of NHS England, and launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Their stated purpose is to improve patient outcomes and generate economic benefits for the UK by promoting and encouraging the adoption of innovation in healthcare.
A request for expressions of interest was issued in June 2012 and on 23 May 2013, WMAHSN was formally announced as one of the 15 designated AHSNs in England and licensed without conditions.
In January 2014, Dr Christopher Parker was appointed as Managing Director, joining Tony Davis as Commercial Director. During 2014, the WMAHSN's governance structures were developed and the full complement of staff was recruited by January 2015.
WMAHSN's inaugural annual membership scheme commenced on 1 June 2015, open at no cost to all NHS organisations, local authorities, academic and educational institutions, other public bodies, life sciences industry, private sector healthcare companies, the third sector and patients, carers and the public within the West Midlands region. From 1 April 2016, WMAHSN has also offered a paid-for enhanced membership scheme, with additional benefits, services and premium access, for organisations should they choose to do so. The WMAHSN is also developing a corporate partnership scheme for larger industry members.