June 14, 2024

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NHS patients to benefit from faster access to innovative medical technologies

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NHS patients in England are set to gain quicker access to the latest and most innovative medical technologies, thanks to new plans proposed by NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

The proposed route for MedTech developers to access NHS funding aims to fast-track clinically and cost-effective products for use within the healthcare system.

The proposals, developed with input from the Department of Health and Social Care, the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), are designed to ensure that the growing number of game-changing products recommended by NICE can be rapidly introduced to the NHS on a large scale. This initiative is expected to significantly improve patient outcomes.

Greater certainty for MedTech innovators and suppliers

Technologies that meet the required criteria will benefit from automatic funding to support routine commissioning, providing a more predictable environment for the development and deployment of new medical technologies.

The consultation on these proposals is open to feedback from patients, clinicians, academics, and industry representatives. Interested parties are encouraged to submit their views via the consultation webpage before the deadline at midnight on Thursday, August 15.

Benefits of medical technology on the nation’s health

The new proposals aim to fully maximise the benefits of these technologies for patients. NHS England is keen to hear from all stakeholders to help shape the MedTech pathway, ensuring it delivers the greatest clinical and cost-effective benefits.

Mark Chapman, director of the Health Technologies Programme at NICE, highlighted the need for a clear pathway due to the rapid pace of change and the high number of new products in the MedTech sector.

The new pathway is intended to ensure that the most promising and transformative technologies can be adopted at scale by the NHS promptly.

NICE guidelines

NICE, with its international reputation for evidence-based recommendations, believes that positive NICE guidance demonstrates the value and benefits a product can bring to healthcare users worldwide. The new pathway aims to ensure that patients across the country can benefit from the best medical devices, digital technologies, and diagnostic innovations.

The proposals are also aligned with the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to accelerate the uptake of selected innovative medical devices, diagnostics, and digital products. Recent introductions of MedTech equipment to the NHS include a laser fibre that vaporises enlarged prostatic tissue and a device called Spectra Optia, which separates and removes sickle red blood cells from a patient’s blood, replacing them with healthy red blood cells according to a user-defined software protocol.

These new plans promise to revolutionise the availability of cutting-edge medical technologies in the NHS, offering improved patient outcomes and greater support for MedTech innovation. Feedback from the consultation will be crucial in refining these proposals to ensure they deliver maximum benefit to patients and the healthcare system.

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