West of England Academic Health Science Network hosted a special visit from Professor Sir Bruce Keogh in February, NHS England's Medical Director on 21 February at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emerson's Green.
The event was an opportunity to give Sir Bruce an overview of the WEAHSN's activities in its first year and its potential to harness international and national research to develop innovative and effective healthcare for local people.
The day included demonstrations and presentations which focused on improving patient safety, improving mental healthcare and case studies of how evidence is influencing the commissioning of healthcare.
The latest winners of the national Healthcare Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition also demonstrated their new technologies at the event. These included a low-cost handheld ECG monitoring device that works with smart phones and PCs from Plessey and technology alerts from DocCom which can be used to deliver the best care possible to patients in Intensive Care Units.
The visit was led by Professor Steve West, chair of the WEAHSN, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England and was attended by representatives of the network including hospital consultants, Chief Executive clinical commissioning leads, GPs and academics.
Sir Bruce commented at the end of the visit: "The AHSNs are the engine for change and spread of innovation in the NHS. They are also crucial for speeding up the process of getting evidence into practical use. I am pleased to see the progress made in the West of England's AHSN and to experience the 'can do' attitude of the various partners involved."