The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) has welcomed the results of its second, annual stakeholder survey, with 75% of respondents recommending working with the WMAHSN.
AHSNs have a critical role to play in helping the NHS identify, adopt and spread best practice, clinical innovations and new technologies more quickly and at scale in order to address some of the key challenges described in the Five Year Forward View. The survey helps to assess the impact of AHSNs across England, with people from across health and social care, patient groups, academia, industry and the charity sector taking part.
The second annual survey saw 172 people in the West Midlands take part – itself a major improvement on the 65 respondents last year – to share their views on how the WMAHSN is increasing the adoption and diffusion of innovation across its region. Of these, three quarters said that they would recommend working with WMAHSN, up from 61% last year.
The report of the survey outcomes is available on the WMAHSN website. Importantly, it shows that of the original four core objectives for all AHSNs, WMAHSN has demonstrated a perceived improvement in three of these, of between 6 and 12 percentage points.
In addition, the WMAHSN has improved in almost every category of the survey. These include a rise of 15 percentage points in those who feel WMAHSN helps them to achieve their objectives (up from 41% to 56%); the fact that 71% of respondents regard WMAHSN staff as knowledgeable (up 15 percentage points) and 78% find them helpful (up 19 points). In addition, 61% rate the quality of WMAHSN’s support (up 11 percentage points).
The responses also show that WMAHSN has shown improvement in facilitating collaboration (up 5 percentage points) and that 57% value its work in identifying, adopting and spreading innovation (a rise of 9 points on last year). This resonates with the fact that 11 percent more respondents now feel confident that WMAHSN will deliver on its plans and priorities and that the proportion of people who feel WMAHSN has achieved more than expected in the last 12 months has also risen by 13 percentage points.
Dr Christopher Parker, Managing Director of WMAHSN, said: “The first year’s survey was invaluable to us. It highlighted that respondents wanted us to encourage collaboration, facilitate access to innovations and provide more clarity on our priorities.
“Feedback from that survey was used the shape this year’s business plan, and in response we launched our membership networks and services to support co-operation, collaboration and productivity across the health and care spectrum, and introduced our Membership Innovation Councils in the north, centre and south of the region, giving local influence over our priorities and driving the spread of innovations at a grassroots level. We also streamlined our priorities and themes and ramped up the work of our Patient Safety Collaborative across the West Midlands.
“Crucially, we introduced our highly successful Meridian online health exchange, which supports the development of an innovation community both in individual organisations and across the West Midlands region, and facilitates access to solutions to healthcare challenges.
“Similarly, the results of this year’s survey will now be used by WMAHSN to feed into next year’s plan. This year’s survey shows that we still need to consult more with our stakeholders and listen to their views and this fits with our determination to match solutions to needs. The results also indicate that our members want us to continue identifying best practice, better ways of working and those who have the ability to deliver; to facilitate development of mutually beneficial collaborations and to involve ourselves in supporting Sustainability and Transformation Plans with the evidence for where change is necessary and assist in the development and delivery of their prioritised objectives.”
Dr Parker added: “Overall, these are an excellent result for WMAHSN, especially when we consider the extremely challenging size and characteristics of our region, which can raise barriers to collaboration and means that we have to be careful to prioritise our focus in order to achieve the most impact.
“The WMAHSN team members should be proud of the improvements that they have achieved across the board. It means that we are well placed to build on this year’s results and ensure even better performance in the future.”
You can read the national results of the survey across all AHSNs on the AHSN Network website.