Reflections on catalysing regional change for health

By Steve Feast, Managing Director

After two and a bit years in the managing director role I am retiring to explore new challenges and enjoy the pleasures of writing, painting and leisure. I trained at Addenbrookes in the 1980’s working as a GP and psychiatry trainee in the City. Coming back has been an absolute pleasure and we have now remade Cambridge our home.

Upon appointment, I realised the main role of an AHSN is to connect the national to the regional and catalyse change. It is to broker relationships and help share ideas and visions for the future. I am confident that Eastern AHSN has very much catalysed these actions and that the team here and the new CEO, Piers Ricketts, will continue to build impacts ahead.

The Eastern region has grown hugely in strength and relevance over the last forty years. Cambridge is one of the two highest ranked universities and one of the world’s top ten cities to live. MedTech, life sciences and innovation communities abound across the Stevenage, Norwich, Chelmsford and Harlow axis. I have very much set up the AHSN as a key networker and connector to help ensure that by working together we become much more than the sum of our parts. What does the future Oxbridge corridor now offer ahead? How might that link from Norwich to Birmingham and become the life sciences and MedTech engine of Europe?

Eastern AHSN has worked with other agencies and local government to support the region to seize the opportunities ahead. This is the moment to now further describe how our region can provide solutions to investors, and the public and private sectors. By inviting and driving investments for ‘place based sector’ deals we can create cross industry ‘end to end’ solutions that people, especially those benefiting from health and care services, really need. How people receive their healthcare is now very dissonant with how they lead their digitally and technologically connected daily lives. Accelerating solutions in this space is I hope, the legacy and challenge I leave.

Lastly, I must thank all my colleagues both in Eastern AHSN and wider networks for all the fantastic work that has turned us around. Working with such talented colleagues has taught me a lot and I wish everyone well for the future.

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