Welcome to our review of 2020-21.

Over the past year, we have supported our local systems and regional partners with their response to the pandemic, whilst maintaining vital business as usual activity. In this review, we outline our key impacts, and link to resources, videos, and podcasts – all developed with our partners - which support our colleagues to keep patients in Wessex safe and well. We are continuing this approach for 2021-22, as the system recovers and restores, as outlined in our business plan. Scroll down, or click the headers above to find out more.

Covid Oximetry @home

We worked with four other AHSNs, and the south west and south east NHS England and Improvement regions, to rapidly roll out remote monitoring to over 16,000 Covid-19 patients in the south east (and Dorset); helping to spot ‘silent hypoxia’ early and implement a digital platform, to help staff and patients alike.

From 31 December 2020, all CCGs in the south east (and Dorset) had gone live with Covid Oximetry @home pathways.

The three AHSNs serving these areas also managed to secure licences for the majority of the south east (and Dorset) for Inhealthcare – a digital platform which records all the patient data. The licences were funded with money from NHSX.

Health Innovation Wessex’s communications team also built, at speed, detailed resource web pages for the work, which between October 2020 and March 2021, received over 10,000 views. These pages are included in official NHS England guidance.

Work featured on local and national BBC news.


We urgently pivoted our Innovation Insight team's expertise to support the pandemic response, including rapidly evaluating telemedicine services and an online mental health service, the findings of which informed decisions on commissioning and further funding.

We undertook 44 engagements in projects related to the Covid-19 response, supported 59 evaluation projects and published 63 reports in our Innovation Insight Library.

We worked alongside nine local health and care systems to capture ‘rapid insights’ into the challenges and learning from the Covid-19 response, involving 442 participants from Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, and the south west. This work enabled people to plan for the future, understand a diverse set of views, and accelerate a learning culture.

evaluation projects supported
reports published

Patient safety

During the pandemic, our regional work to improve patient safety has been more vital than ever. This work included spreading best practice in tracheostomy care, maternity and neonatal safety, and managing and spotting deterioration, across the region.

14 videos produced to help people in care homes, by the patient safety team with the West of England AHSN, Hampshire and Isle of Wight CCGs, and Health Education England, have been watched over 250,000 times. The film about measuring oxygen saturations has been watched over 100,000 times, with more than a third of these views in India. Our RESTORE2 work continues to be spread and recommended, including by the British Geriatric Society.

By October 2020, 88% of Wessex tracheostomy teams reported that they were using all three safety interventions (bedhead signs, standardised bedside emergency equipment and daily care bundle). Across the region, 88% of eligible pregnant women continue to receive magnesium sulphate prior to delivery, which is the same as last year. This is higher than the national ambition for the PReCePT programme, which is 85%.

videos produced
watched over

Going digital

During the past year, we have helped health and social care services adapt to the new digital and socially-distanced way of delivering care. We have provided support to care homes to aid the rollout of the telemedicine service; have helped establish how ready GPs are to adapt to digital care; and supported care home staff to use technology to help keep their residents well. We have also helped primary care colleagues with new technology and platforms, so patients have quick and digital access to services.

We developed an awareness package and materials to support the launch of a telemedicine service, which is now being provided to 203 care homes. These have been downloaded almost 500 times. 350 colleagues from across the NHS, social care and voluntary sector also attended a telemedicine for care homes webinar.

We worked with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP (now ICS) team to help roll out eConsult (software for providing online consultations), with all practices across the area now using the system. 1.8m patients are now benefiting from online access to their GP. We also supported a Primary Care Network to adapt to using Microsoft Teams. A Health Education England (Wessex) Digital Fellow, Dr Matt Hammerton, also undertook an AHSN-sponsored evaluation of 33 general practices to better understand digital readiness for GPs. Dr Hammerton produced a report, and a special podcast, which discusses the findings and recommendations.

general practices evaluated
patients benefited

We helped a mental health service (Isorropia Foundation) go online with 50 Facebook Portal devices; and evaluated their new, online delivery model, compared to their pre-Covid-19 face-to-face offering. We also supported the rollout of innovative, socially-distanced, safe, health innovations – LifeLight - and Dermicus, where our work with partners to speed up skin cancer diagnoses was shortlisted for a prestigious HSJ Award. This work was hailed as a potential “life-saver” by an Isle of Wight patient.


Our support to industry has continued apace during 2020-21, supporting 230 companies. Companies told us our support resulted in 101 jobs created or safeguarded, and economic growth of over £41m (sales, grants and investment). We also helped Wessex NHS and universities win over £7m in external funding.

The Industry and Innovation team provided expertise and significant support to help the PeRSo hood inventors understand how to receive regulatory approval and the appropriate CE mark. The hood was widely publicised, and thousands of the hoods are now in use in the very highest risk clinical areas.

In addition to direct innovator support, the team supported the Covid response in several ways.

This included a rapid national horizon scan to collate a list of market-ready innovations to assist the pandemic response. The team also provided hands-on support to establish three vaccine trial hubs.

Main image credit: Baynhams

The team has achieved:

in economic growth
of external investment
additional jobs created
jobs safeguarded


an innovation which can rapidly diagnose sepsis using DNA


Read case study

A member of the team also has been instrumental in the set-up of three vaccine trial research hubs in Bournemouth, Portsmouth, and Southampton.

Read Rob's story

Innovation spread

This year, we continued the spread of nationally approved innovations to our colleagues and partners in Wessex, within the context of the pandemic.

We also formed a two year partnership with the Wessex Cancer Alliance to help achieve the cancer diagnosis goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

We produced a special report, which looks at the experiences of five acute trusts when adopting innovation, and how they made these innovations work in their trusts. We supported three acute trusts, including Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to adopt and integrate HeartFlow, an innovative way of displaying patients’ coronary arteries and diagnosing coronary heart disease.

We started our programme to roll out Lipid Management and Familial Hypercholesterolaemia innovations. We are also leading the new national FeNO programme, and are working to spread other national innovations. We've helped Behold.ai to build a grant-winning consortium, and two ICS systems win transformation funding for teledermatology.

Dr Peter Chapman and CT scanning team at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Supporting older people

The international and national focus on frailty, ageing well and healthy ageing has never been greater; and our healthy ageing programme has delivered a variety of e-learning, resources, campaigns and learning for the NHS and social care in the past year. Post-Covid-19, improving the lives of individuals living with frailty is vital to help them age well, and stay independent at home for longer.

With Hampshire County Council, we produced the Hydration at Home Toolkit, which includes an e-learning module for care home staff and carers. This has been sent to over 500 colleagues and has led to 4,474 registered users for the e-learning.

Working with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with the London Clinical Frailty Network and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Health Education England, we developed and launched a special frailty e-learning module: Frailty, E-Learning for Excellence in Frailty Identification, Assessment and Personalised Care (Tier 1 and 2).

The team also supported the distribution of 2,254 Nutrition Wheels, evaluated the Wheel, and are supporting the development of a digital version with Bournemouth University.


Our work to help people take their medicines safely and effectively continued apace during the pandemic.

Around 1.2 million extra electronic repeat dispensing prescription items have been issued since March 2020 – supporting social distancing and saving more than 5,600 GP hours. Our webpages for this work have had over 10,000 views. Our work to support patients taking multiple medicines more safely continued, with over 106 GPs, pharmacists and nurses trained in improving shared decision-making consultations.

extra electronic repeat
dispensing prescription items issued
GP hours saved

Our work to secure the safe transfer of patients' medicines when they move from hospital to home continued. This Transfer of Care around Medicines project helped support the safe discharge of patients from hospital prior to each Covid-19 wave. In February 2021, the national Discharge Medicines Service was launched, and five out of the seven Wessex trusts were able to seamlessly move to the new national service. This year over 8,500 referrals have been made.

We continued our work to embed the pharmacist-led programme to reduce harm from medication errors in primary care (PINCER). We have trained over 60 clinicians in the PINCER intervention resulting in over 3,500 fewer patients at risk from clinically significant medication errors.

Mental health

We have delivered a comprehensive evaluation of S12 Solutions, an app and website that helps mental health professionals efficiently complete Mental Health Act assessments; and produced an accompanying implementation support guide.

We have been working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by supporting the implementation of an objective assessment tool, to supplement current clinical assessment processes.

We are supporting mental health teams in Dorset and Hampshire to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders in young people aged 16 to 25, by implementing the FREED model (First episode Rapid Early intervention for Eating Disorders).

We supported local teams to secure
of funding from NHS England and Improvement to support early intervention in eating disorders.

Our people

AHSN staff have used their clinical and research skills – or have volunteered – to help with the major roll out of the vaccination at their local centres.

Our partners