Comment

04.10.17

Accelerating access to treatment and markets

Source: NHE Sep/Oct 17

Hilary Newiss, chair of National Voices, on the latest significant developments of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) from her perspective as patient champion.

There is some cause for optimism when it comes to implementation of the AAR. 

This autumn we can expect the government’s plan to take forward the recommendations, and we have already seen concrete action. In July, government minister Lord O’Shaughnessy announced up to £86m to support innovators and the NHS in overcoming barriers to getting new, innovative technologies to patients. The funding is a welcome first step towards delivering on the AAR plans. 

Other work is ongoing to build the voice of people and patients into the priority setting for new treatments, and to make the repurposing of drugs more straightforward. 

The National Institute for Health Research is now consulting on best practice for including patients and citizens in all aspects of research and innovation. The need for involvement at every stage of research and innovation was set out in National Voices’ work for the AAR. 

Accelerating or restricting? 

Earlier this year, National Voices convened a workshop of charities and advocacy groups, alongside officials from the Office for Life Sciences. The aim of the meeting was to highlight priority areas for the implementation of the AAR recommendations. However, the discussion was dominated by wider issues of access to treatments and services. 

The positive noises from government on speeding up access to treatment come at a time when measures are being taken to reduce access to services in other areas. For example, the relaxation of the 18-week referral to treatment targets, a consultation on guidance to stop prescribing certain treatments, including those available over the counter, and attempts to avoid paying for specific treatments, such as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). You can argue the rights or wrongs of each decision, but taken as a whole, they imply a system restricting access, not accelerating it. 

Of most concern to the national charities at the workshop was the NICE and NHS England decision to implement a new ‘budget impact test’ for new treatments. The new test would mean that roll-out of NICE-approved treatments expected to cost more than £20m in any one of their first three years of use could be delayed for up to three years, or in some cases even longer. 

Many of these measures appear contrary to the notion of accelerating access. 

The benefits of accelerating access 

So how to make sense of these two apparently competing forces? 

When I joined the AAR group in summer 2015 as patient champion, Brexit was not on my mind. In fact, I don’t think I had ever used the word. 

Fast-forward two years and the implementation of the AAR recommendations is increasingly couched in terms of Brexit. Much of the thinking about realising the AAR appears to be focusing on supporting life sciences as part of shaping a post-Brexit economy for the UK. 

The importance of the life sciences industry to the national economy was emphasised by Sir John Bell in his Life Sciences Industrial  Strategy recommendations to government, published in August. Making the UK an attractive place to do business is a reasonable aim, but it is not the only benefit of accelerating access to treatments. 

Improved access to medicines and treatments has the potential to significantly improve the lives of people in the UK. It also has the potential to make the country a more attractive place for the developers of such medicines and treatments, with knock-on benefits for the economy. These benefits are not mutually exclusive; both can be achieved. 

The government must not fall into the trap of seeing the Accelerating Access agenda as solely an issue for the economy. They must retain a focus on the prize of speeding up the roll-out of medicines and treatments that patients and citizens want and need. In doing so, they can improve the lives of people and patients. The aim is to accelerate patients’ access to treatment, as well as companies’ access to markets.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: www.nationalvoices.org.uk

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Winter pressures mounting as A&E attendances creep up by 4.4%

14/12/2017Winter pressures mounting as A&E attendances creep up by 4.4%

NHS England’s latest figures show that although the health service is responding well to growing pressure, it is close to “full stretch... more >
Kent trust appoints NHSI director as new chief executive

14/12/2017Kent trust appoints NHSI director as new chief executive

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (MTW) NHS Trust has appointed Miles Scott as its new chief executive. Scott joins the trust from his position ... more >
CCGs must move towards strategic commissioning to improve local care

14/12/2017CCGs must move towards strategic commissioning to improve local care

CCGs in the UK should move towards strategic commissioning if the healthcare system is to embrace a move toward integrated local care, claims a n... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Ten lessons to support new care models locally

29/11/2017Ten lessons to support new care models locally

Anna Starling, policy fellow at the Health Foundation, offers the top 10 lessons for local leaders seeking to make systematic improvements across services, all based on first-hand accounts from vanguard officials. Redesigning health and social care services across traditional boundaries is not easy. Making change in complex environments, with differing professional viewpoints and varying organisational priorities while getting on with t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >
Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

02/10/2017Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

NHE interviews Gillian Fox, head of eProcurement (Scan4Safety) programme at NHS Supply Chain. How has the Scan4Safety initiative evolved sin... more >
Simon Stevens: A hunger for innovation

25/09/2017Simon Stevens: A hunger for innovation

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, knows that the health service is already a world leader when it comes to medical advances – ... more >

last word

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

The Refugee Doctor Initiative

Terry John, co-chair of the BMA & BDA Refugee Doctors and Dentists Liaison Group and chair of the union’s international committee, talks about a brilliant initiative that is proving mut... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus

Release full market value against surplus and decommissioned assets

28/11/2017Release full market value against surplus and decommissioned assets

Advertisement feature: Oliver Pearson, sal... more >
Operation Barcode: selecting technology to succeed

22/11/2017Operation Barcode: selecting technology to succeed

The benefits of Scan4Safety have been widely ... more >