Impact Review 2023-4: leaders' views

Maria Kane and Professor David Wynick look back on some of the year's highlights.

Bringing people together

At Bristol Health Partners, we bring organisations together to help everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire live longer and healthier lives. In practice, we achieve this by identifying people in our health and care system who all agree that improvement starts with finding, sharing and acting upon evidence. As you will see in this year’s Impact Review, working with the right people who can use the best evidence to advance health and care for our region is something we are doing increasingly and effectively.  

Involving people with diverse experiences and backgrounds results in better research which in turn delivers benefits for patients and service users. We were delighted to sign up to the national Shared Commitment to Public Involvement in September 2023, demonstrating our commitment across the partnership. This was driven by our public contributor, Stephen Hill, who has been involved in the Shared Commitment since its early days and is now co-chair of the steering group. We thank him for connecting us with this important work. 

More than 100 people came to our conference at the Trinity Centre in October 2023 – the first time we had hosted it in a community venue, in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of our region. It was heartening to see so many partners connecting with representatives from the voluntary and community sector, to discuss how to meaningfully address inequalities by learning from those working at the grassroots of health and care locally.  

There are now around 150 people involved in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire ICB diverse Research Engagement Network, which we facilitate. We are seeing a real appetite and ambition across the system to work better with those with lived experience from diverse communities: by encouraging more people to take part in research (many of whom have previously felt excluded or that research was not for them), engaging with communities considerately and consistently, and ensuring that the evidence generated is fed back to participants and acted upon so that its outcomes benefit everyone.  

A strong message from Research Engagement Network members is that people who take part in health research are not truly representative of the wider population, because data about participants’ protected characteristics is not routinely collected. It is therefore difficult to know enough about who is missing from the picture and whether efforts to make research more inclusive are having an impact. We are tackling this challenge by working with a wide range of people – including those with disabilities and from ethnically minoritized, LGBTQIA+ and faith communities – to co-design a questionnaire that will gather this demographic data effectively. The questionnaire is being piloted locally across our region and our aim is that it will then be rolled out nationally to collect data about who is taking part in health research and to monitor if this is changing.  

Recently it was announced that two of our partners – the region’s acute hospital Trusts, North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust – will work together more closely under a Group Model to meet the needs of our population in the longer term, including delivering a Joint Clinical Strategy. At Bristol Health Partners, we have been working with staff across both Trusts to develop evidence-based shared programmes, from Active Hospitals to the introduction of life-saving HIV testing in our emergency departments announced this year. We look forward to seeing these programmes embedded in the coming months. 

Finally, we’re pleased that our partnership is talking and listening more than ever before, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of enquiries we get about how people can join in with our work.  We hope you enjoy what you read in our Impact Review, and if it stimulates your interest, please tell us by emailing [email protected]. We would love to hear from you and tell you more. 


Maria Kane, Chair, Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre 

Professor David Wynick, Director, Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre 

Highlights of the year

“I want to reframe what happened to me into something more positive”

How a stroke led to Aneta becoming a public contributor for the Stroke Health Integration Team (HIT).

Research Engagement Network

Learn about BNSSG’s co-ordinated approach to making local research more equal, diverse and inclusive.