Chelsea and Westminster joins Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has joined the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC).

Imperial College AHSC is a strategic University-NHS partnership that aims to accelerate the translation of scientific breakthroughs into new ways to improve patient care and maintain the health of the public.

The Imperial College AHSC was the UK's first AHSC, formed in 2007 and was redesignated an AHSC for a further five years by the National Institute of Health Research, NHS England & NHS Improvement earlier this year. Its existing members are Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research.

Now, with the addition of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust the Imperial College AHSC will bring these six world-leading, west London-based institutions together around their medical research, clinical care and education missions.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is already an established partner of Imperial College London in both research and education and jointly they lead the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration (NIHR ARC) for north west London. 

The NIHR ARC conducts high quality research to find new ways of improving healthcare. One example of its work is a recent study which highlighted the worsening health inequalities that would result from suspending non-urgent services at NHS hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other AHSC partners also have close clinical links with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has aligned its HIV, dermatology and children’s services with Chelsea & Westminster and all partners are working together to improve cancer care through RM Partners.

Professor Jonathan Weber, Director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, said: “Imperial College AHSC is at the forefront of medical innovation, patient care, education and research. Together with our partners we have already pioneered new disease treatments and diagnostics that have led to direct clinical benefits for patients in north-west London and beyond.  Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the top performing hospital trusts in the UK with a long standing record of delivering outstanding care to patients and I am pleased to welcome them to the AHSC.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the agility and benefits that Imperial College AHSC can bring to patients. Now, with Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a partner, we can extend the reach of the AHSC’s impact. One of our first priorities will be child health and the prevention and early detection of disease.  This is an exciting opportunity for us all to work more closely together to drive through further health improvements for patients and the public.”

Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Partnership is vital to the innovations that are being  progressed by the AHSC and we very much welcome the addition of our key neighbouring NHS partner. Having worked closely together already to move to a shared single electronic patient record system and align our clinical services and ways of working for the benefit of patients, we are excited to see how our further collaboration in research and education, alongside our other AHSC partners, can positively impact on the communities we care for.”

Lesley Watts, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Our goal as a Trust is to deliver outstanding care for our patients. Working with others to innovate is central to achieving that. We are delighted to join the AHSC, building on our strong existing clinical, research and educational relationships.”