NHS patients up and down the UK will benefit from better access to safe, effective, and innovative equipment with the country’s first ever medical technology strategy set to be published, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced today.
The plan will build on learnings from the pandemic and look to make sure the right products are available at the right price in all the right places, ultimately ensuring patients have access to the highest quality of care possible, boosting their outcomes and survival rates as a result.
The DHSC say the strategy will set out the steps necessary so patients can rely on efficient access to the latest in MedTech innovation, as well as how the nation will secure the technologies at cost-effective prices. This will in turn build resilient supply chains, insulating the UK against any future pandemics.
In the meantime though, harnessing the full potential of MedTech will be vital in the ongoing battle against long waiting lists and backlog, with the newest equipment and devices able to expedite diagnosis and open up new and improved treatment pathways.
Minister of State for Health, Will Quince, said: “The UK’s innovative spirit delivered revolutionary technology during the pandemic – from COVID-19 tests and ventilators – and we want to harness this in promoting cutting-edge medical advancements to improve patient care.
“The NHS spends around £10bn a year on medical technology and I’m looking forward to working with industry to use this as we focus on reducing hospital stays, enhancing diagnosis, preventing illness and freeing up staff time.
“This new MedTech strategy will help build a sustainable NHS with patients at the centre so people can continue to access the right care at the right time.”
According to the DHSC, the ultimate aims of the strategy are to:
- Boost overall resilience by improving the supply of the latest equipment.
- Secure the UK’s position as a global science superpower and attract major investment by enabling ambitious and innovative research.
- Deliver better value for money for taxpayers and treatment for patients by improving clinicians’ understanding and awareness of MedTech so more informed financial decisions can be made.
- Expand on the Life Sciences Vision to strengthen collaboration between the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
NICE’s Chief Executive, Dr Sam Roberts, added: “It is essential that clinicians and patients can access the most impactful and cost-effective medical technologies, while MedTech companies need to be confident that they are developing products which meet the needs of patients and the NHS.
“This strategy sets out a clear vision for the future. NICE is excited to be part of the delivery of this vision, working with our partners to further develop world leading processes to provide a sustainable pathway for medical technologies, from innovation to implementation.”
The Government will publish the new strategy’s implementation plan later this year, which will include a reviews of the £1bn spent on equipment in Primary Care, new comparison tools that will allow for better purchasing, as well as various industry partnerships.