North West Academic Health Science Network mark a milestone of 100

This week, North West Academic Health Science Network (NWC AHSN) celebrate reaching their 100th SME partnership milestone.

As the NHS bids to streamline costs across the country, the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network is working closely with business to promote new, more efficient ways of working into the healthcare sector.

A report published this week by Lord Carter revealed the level of waste in the current NHS system. It estimated that the NHS spends billions on inefficient processes. In a bid to combat this and drive efficiency in the sector, the NWC AHSN has supported over100 innovative health related Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the region – helping them to penetrate the NHS market.

The NWC AHSN, which covers Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria, is one of 15 academic health science networks in England. One of its roles involves working with the NHS to enable innovative products to spread by supporting would-be suppliers with practical and strategic advice and support as they look to tap into the market.

Chief executive of the NWC AHSN, Dr Liz Mear, said:

“One of our goals at the NWC AHSN is to accelerate innovation by enabling SMEs to grow and access the healthcare market. We work closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in both Lancashire and Liverpool to identify SMEs and provide them with a platform to do business in the NHS.  Through the network of AHSNs we hope to encourage competition on a national scale and drive cost-effective innovation forward in the healthcare sector. “

Dr Jonathan Day Managing Director Leanvation said:

“The Leanvation team found ourselves struggling to navigate and understand the complex decision trees associated with the procurement of surgical gloves within NHS Trusts following the commercial launch of the business in 2014. Gaining an introduction to the North West Coast AHSN team proved a game changer for Leanvation.

“Not only did NWC provide crucial support in making introductions to key NHS procurement staff, but they provided credibility to our proposals to NHS Trusts, having already undertaken their own due diligence of the Leanvation value proposition. Most important of all however was the support that NWC provided concerning our application to feature on at least two national NHS procurement frameworks.”

The network, which marked its first year of operation in December, has given intensive assistance to 15 local companies in the last 12 months. Recent collaborations include med-tech companies uMotif, AliveCor, EasySHARE,  and St Helens based organisation, Leanvation, which manufactures latex-free surgical gloves at a very competitive prices.

The NWC AHSN has supported Leanvation to win national tenders, giving them advice and guidance and working with organisations who tender for such products.  Dr Jonathan Day, CEO of Leanvation, said:

“Working with the NWC AHSN has opened doors that were previously unavailable to us as a business. Our partnership has since led to us winning two national tenders to test our gloves across the country. We are now on the expansion trail and looking to grow over the next year.”

The network has also supported the creation of a post-operative care remote monitoring app which is now being used at Trusts across the North West. The app, created by software developers uMotif, is being used to help people who have recently undergone operations for cancer or heart failure. The remote monitoring app helps physicians to keep track of patient’s progress after surgery and ensure that they are managing their conditions and experiencing effective rehabilitation. NWC AHSN is working alongside uMotif, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust to further develop the app for specific patient groups.

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