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NHS will ‘unleash full innovation potential’ with new drugs and test beds

Simon Stevens has urged the NHS to “unleash the full potential of innovation in treatment and commissioning” as part of a series of announcements that will see new biosimilar treatments introduced into the health service and drug prices slashed further.

In his keynote speech at the second day of NHS Expo, attended by NHE, the chief executive of NHS England made the argument that the health service is not stuck in its ways, but rather is a hotbed for innovation.

Rather than focusing on the doom and gloom, Stevens sought to shine a spotlight on the exciting clinical and technological changes taking place across the board and the hunger for innovation felt by the sector.

Part of this included announcements on measures to cut another £300m from the country’s medicines bill and plans to roll out new and cutting-edge treatments, which are set to become routinely available for the first time.

“Revolutionary” new treatment for Hepatitis C, for example, which can cure the disease faster and with fewer side effects, will save the NHS more than £50m. It has already led to a 10% reduction in the number of deaths and an “unprecedented reduction” of around 50% in liver transplants.

Another remarkable procedure that will be rolled out in the health service, known as osteo-odonto-keratoprosthetis (OOKP), or ‘tooth-in-eye surgery’, promises to restore a blind patient’s vision by using part of their own tooth root to support an optical cylinder.

And £700,000 is set to be invested in a medical technique called auditory brainstem implants, which can help restore the sensation of hearing to some children born with profound deafness. The operation is performed by Central Manchester University Hospitals.

Over the coming years more generally, more biological medicines will lose patent exclusivity and more biosimilars will come into the marketplace.

In his speech, Stevens also announced that the current test bed programme, about which some of the pilot sites will write for the next issue of NHE, will be expanded. So far, seven sites have been working with 40 innovators, 51 digital technology products, eight evaluation teams and five voluntary sector organisations to determine which products and processes can transform lives or lower current costs.

NHE is providing rolling coverage of both days of NHS Expo online and in our Twitter.


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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 exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >