Health sector experts are being brought together to collaborate on the development of standard policies and procedures to ensure the safe and transparent introduction of innovation in surgery.

The AHSN Network is working with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the Royal College of Surgeons of England to host a series of events to understand the challenges and how to address them when it comes to the introduction of innovation in surgery.

The events will bring experts together to design better ways to evaluate and embed new surgical techniques and devices into the NHS. These events will be informed by a five-year research project led by Professor Jane Blazeby and supported by the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre. The research identified areas in need of improvement regarding the introduction of novel and evolving surgical and invasive procedures, and initiated research to examine the nature and scale of these issues.

The study showed the lack of standard processes and the need to develop fit-for-purpose policies surrounding surgical innovation, and echoed the conclusions from the 2020 Cumberlege report which highlighted the need for change.

Professor Jane Blazeby said:

“Many surgeons are brilliant innovators and innovation is critical to improving healthcare. Our research has shown that we need to make essential policy improvements to how we introduce new surgical techniques and invasive procedures to increase safety, consistency and transparency.

This is about enabling change to support surgical innovation. We are bringing together clinicians, academia and regulators to consider the issues and co-develop solutions to improve how novel invasive procedures are introduced and evaluated.”

The first in a proposed series of events will take place on 3 November 2021 to bring the sector together, outline the research findings and workshop actions regarding changes in policy guidelines.

Event details:

Event title: Safety and transparency in surgical innovation – can we do better?

Date: 3 November 2021

Time:  2:30 – 5:00pm


  • Dr Anne Pullyblank, Medical Director, West of England AHSN and Consultant Surgeon, North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Dr Deborah Cohen, Health correspondent for BBC Newsnight and former investigations editor for The BMJ
  • Jane Blazeby, Professor of Surgery, University of Bristol
  • Professor Kevin Harris, Consultant Clinical Advisor and Programme Director for the interventional procedures, NICE
  • Professor Peter Hutchinson, Royal College of Surgeons
  • David Jayne, Clinical Director, NIHR Surgical MedTech Co-operative

Register here.