Oxford joins elite centres to improve UK health research

Oxford Mail: Sir Jonathan Michael, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive

OXFORD has been named as one of six centres in the UK that will spearhead the country’s health research.

The city’s first-class facilities, medics and scientists have been recognised as among the best in the world by the Department of Health.

The announcement on the formation of the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) will mean the city’s universities and hospitals will be tasked with projects on managing chronic disease and tackling infections.

It means that the city’s two universities, as well as NHS facilities in the county and researchers, will work together at the centre to improve the country’s health.

From April , the six NHS and university partnerships will work together to improve patient care and healthcare. The centres will bring scientific discoveries from the lab to the ward, in an effort to allow patients to benefit from innovative new treatments.

Sir Jonathan Michael, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive, said: “This is a tremendous boost for the patients we serve and it is international recognition of Oxford’s excellence in medical research and clinical delivery.

“The partnership will further strengthen the joint working between our four institutions.

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“Together we have the people, the expertise, the facilities and, most importantly, the determination to tackle the major challenges facing healthcare.”

The five other facilities are in Cambridge, Manchester, University College London, Imperial College London and the King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre in London.

Professor Sir John Bell, the chairman of the new board set up to run the Oxford Academic Health Science Centre, said: “The success of the application reflects the strengths of the four partners in all areas: research, education and healthcare.”

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Oxford University’s Vice- Chancellor, said: “This new accolade is a wonderful recognition of the excellence of medical sciences research at the University of Oxford and the success of Oxford researchers, and our colleagues in the NHS and at Oxford Brookes, at translating scientific advances into benefits for patients, the community, and health-care professionals.”

Stuart Bell, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said: “I am delighted that this AHSC designation has recognised the fantastic opportunities which our collaboration of NHS and academic partners brings.

“Our focus will be to transform healthcare for the benefit of patients and their carers. It is also a major boost for the life sciences sector [such as biology and bio-chemistry], which is such a key contributor to the prosperity of Oxfordshire and the wider Thames Valley.”

Oxford Brookes Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life SciencesJune Girvin said: “The AHSC designation recognises the strength there is in our existing collaboration and the significant potential for the future.”

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