Foreword from Chair Robert Woolley

Our Chair Robert Woolley looks back at our achievements in 2020-21. Robert is also Chief Executive of University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Co-Executive Lead of the Healthier Together Integrated Care System.

Our first year as an Academic Health Science Centre

Bristol Health Partners’ first year as an Academic Health Science Centre, or AHSC, was certainly an eventful one. This designation by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS England and NHS Improvement, which happened only a few weeks after the country was gripped by COVID-19, is a major achievement. As one of only eight AHSCs in England, it will help us to drive service change that will lead to better health, clinical and economic outcomes for people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).

The last year has underlined the urgent need for co-ordinated and creative action in the BNSSG integrated care system, across mental health, the health of children and young people, and, of course, the health inequalities that the pandemic has laid bare. As an AHSC, we are taking forward these three themes as priority areas to focus on. By using the unique opportunities and reach we have as an AHSC, we want to ensure excellent system-wide working and a truly integrated approach to tackling the local challenges in these areas.

I’m delighted that we have also welcomed four new organisations as partners this year: Sirona care & health, NHS Blood & Transplant, North Somerset District Council and South Gloucestershire Council. As we begin our work as an AHSC under a new four-year collaboration agreement, our total number of partners stands at eleven.

As we have expanded our reach, we have also begun to examine how we can work better with people with different backgrounds, knowledge and experience, to make our local health and care system better for everyone. In August 2020 we published our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. This is a first step towards realising our vision to have local health and care services provide the same positive experiences to everyone, no matter who they are or where they live. Find out about the progress the partnership has made this year.

Robert Woolley, Chair of Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre