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Bristol Health Partners designated an Academic Health Science Centre

Press release issued: 12 May 2020

Following a highly competitive process, Bristol Health Partners (BHP) is now one of only eight designated Academic Health Science Centres (AHSCs) in England. The AHSC will drive service change, leading to world-class health, clinical and economic outcomes for the regional population across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).

The AHSC designation by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS England and NHS Improvement builds upon BHP’s current successes in research, innovation, education and training and recognises the outstanding local collaborations between academia, public health, the NHS, social care and the voluntary and community sector that the Partnership has created across BNSSG.

Bristol Health Partners AHSC involves 11 organisations:

  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Bristol City Council
  • NHS Blood and Transplant
  • NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • North Bristol NHS Trust
  • North Somerset Council
  • Sirona care & health
  • South Gloucestershire Council
  • University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
  • University of Bristol
  • University of the West of England

Andrea Young, Chair of the Bristol Health Partners AHSC Board and David Wynick, Director of the Bristol Health Partners AHSC jointly commented: “The importance of collaboration across research, health and social care has never been greater than we have seen with COVID-19. From the rapid creation of the NHS Nightingale Hospital Bristol to supporting national testing and vaccine trials, the strength of these partnerships is reflected in how local expertise and resources are coming together in response to COVID-19.

“We should be proud of the outstanding local partnerships we have created and our resulting recognition as a national centre of excellence.

"As an AHSC, we will strengthen our ability to unite our excellence in health and care provision, research and innovation, education and training to deliver healthier lives, throughbetter prevention of illness and disease. We will work together to develop and deliver novel, evidence-based treatments and health and care innovations across BNSSG, promoting best practice to improve outcomes for our local population.”

Over the next five years, Bristol Health Partners AHSC will be focusing on six key areas including public health and prevention; mental health and neuroscience; cardiovascular science; surgical innovation; perinatal, reproductive and children's health and delivering integrated, optimal and equitable care across BNSSG.

Bristol Health Partners AHSC will also work closely with and is nested within, the West of England Academic Health Science Network, focusing on health and care related research, education and training. The Partnership will continue to support the integration and combined efforts of the local National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) infrastructure such as the Applied Research Collaboration West, the Bristol Biomedical Research Centre and the Clinical Research Network West of England.

Involving members of the public is a key priority for the Partnership, to empower people who use health and social care services, provide a route to influencing change and improvement in issues which concern people most.

Further information

About Bristol Health Partners
Bristol Health Partners exists to improve the health of those who live in and around Bristol and to improve the delivery of the services on which they rely, and to act as a mechanism for change in our health and care community and our city region. Originally it was a strategic collaboration between the city’s three acute and mental health NHS trusts, the NHS BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group, the two Bristol universities and Bristol City Council. Recently Sirona care & health, the newly commissioned provider of adult community health services across BNSSG, NHS Blood and Transplant from its Bristol headquarters and North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils have all joined the AHSC. Bristol Health Partners aims to maximise health research, and to transform the understanding, prevention and treatment of key health problems across BNSSG. The 11 organisations involved have formed Bristol Health Partners voluntarily, and it is funded by contributions from the partners.

Find out more about the partnership at

About National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Academic Health Science Centres
NIHR Academic Health Science Centres are partnerships between top universities and NHS organisations that combine excellence in research, health education and patient care. AHSCs are jointly designated by the NIHR, NHS England and NHS Improvement. The aim of AHSCs is to harness the strategic alignment of the NHS organisations and their university partners to improve health and care through increased translations of discoveries from early scientific research into benefits to patients. The work of AHSCs will support the NHS Long Term Plan, the Life Science Industrial Strategy and the goals of the expanded Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC).

The following eight partnerships have been awarded AHSC designation for the next five years:

  • Bristol Health Partners / Academic Health Science Centre (new partnership)
  • Cambridge University Health Partners / Academic Health Science Centre
  • Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre
  • King’s Health Partners / Academic Health Sciences Centre
  • Manchester Academic Health Science Centre
  • Newcastle Health Innovation Partners / Academic Health Science Centre (new partnership)
  • Oxford Academic Health Partners / Academic Health Science Centre
  • UCL Partners / Academic Health Science Centre
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