MedTech strategy

How the government is supporting the future of medical technology

Innovation isn't just a buzzword; it's a source of hope for better healthcare. In this day and age, we're fortunate to have marvels of medical technology at our fingertips.

From the ground-breaking X-ray discovery in 1895 to easy-to-use self-test blood diagnostic devices today—we’ve come a long way.   

Technology is helping us diagnose health issues quicker and more effectively, saving countless more lives.

We are setting out the Medical Technology Innovation Classification Framework, which will help everyone talk about new ideas in medical technology using the same language—like having a common understanding among us, the people who make these technologies, and the patients.

Developed in tandem with—NHS England, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHS Supply Chain, and Trade Associations—the framework will provide clear new guidance on how best to describe a medical product as innovative - meaning manufacturers can clearly convey the benefits their products offer compared to other technology on the market.

Last year, our medical technology strategy set out how we support the health and social care system to reliably access safe, effective, and innovative medical technologies– ensuring products can be brought to market more quickly.  

A year into delivery, we can celebrate the innovations that have touched and transformed patient lives over the past year.   

These achievements of innovation are not just about machines and algorithms; they are about people—about you, me, and the ones we love. 

The Innovative Devices Pathway (IDAP)  designed to fund life-saving medical technology – has provided millions to companies working on potential breakthrough medical devices, promising to revolutionise how we treat major health issues in the UK. 

One device being developed by HistoSonics aims to identify and destroy liver cancer tumours using focused ultrasound waves. These waves break down tumours without damaging healthy tissue, offering a safer alternative to radiotherapy and other high intensity treatments.

Roche Diagnostics Ltd has developed the Amyloid Plasma Panel – a blood test which could help clinicians decide if patients with cognitive impairment should undergo tests or imaging to confirm Alzheimer’s Disease. On top of this, Upfront Diagnostics is creating a portable blood test to identify strokes on the spot, potentially sparing thousands from long-term disability. 

The Health Tech Adoption and Acceleration Fund, introduced to help Integrated Care Systems (ICS) roll out innovative technology, has provided £30 million to 42 ICSs. Patients across the country have already benefited through an expansion of faster 3D cancer tests, more care at home through virtual wards, and investment in new wearable devices to manage numerous chronic conditions.

These breakthroughs are about our simple yet profound vision for MedTech: the right product, at the right price, in the right place. 

Alongside the benefits to patients, MedTech is creating approximately 154,000 jobs in the UK. Building on the Life Sciences Vision, this government is committed to creating an environment for innovators to thrive and grow. 

Our partnership with NICE has been helping NHS leaders choose the best products at fair prices. And the Design for Life project shows our commitment to eco-friendly practices, aiming to use resources wisely to ensure availability, save costs, and protect our environment in health and social care. 

These initiatives are not just about new technologies; they're about providing the medical technology that patients truly need. This government is investing in the future of healthcare, harnessing innovation, and attracting the world’s greatest minds to our shores to benefit generations to come – but we’re only just getting started. 

Our mission to drive innovation in healthcare will ultimately help secure a faster, simpler, and fairer healthcare system.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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