The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, Lord O’Shaughnessy, has revealed a new package of support worth over £85 million, intended to assist British businesses with developing medical innovations.
It is then hoped that the technological breakthroughs will be utilised within the NHS system.
The funding can be considered the first step in the implementation of recommendations made in the Accelerated Access Review.
This document was intended to ensure that patients gain access to innovations in medical care more rapidly.
The cash stream is being provided jointly by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department of Health.
And £56 million of funding is being provided by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with £30 million siphoned from existing Department of Health budgets.
It is believed that this initiative will have a particularly strong influence over the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises to test and ultimately deliver new healthcare technologies in the NHS system.
Additionally, the rapidity with which such technologies can be delivered from the laboratory to a real-world of setting will also be improved by this new approach, according to the government.
The Department of Health has already broken down how the funding will be distributed, with £39 million available to Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), £35 million for Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators, up to £6 million to support SMEs in gathering evidence they need through real-world testing; and a £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund.
It is hoped that collectively this will have a real impact on the way that technology is delivered within the NHS.
“The Government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible. That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – like speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs,” Lord O’Shaughnessy commented.
And the Ethical Medicines Industry Group believes that the new initiative represents a positive step.
“We will continue to work with the Government to find ways to make significant improvements in patients’ access to medicines,” chairman Leslie Galloway com themented.
Dr Richard Torbett, executive director of Commercial Policy at the ABPI, suggested that the new investment for AHSNs is “an important first step in pulling industry and the health service together to realise the Review’s ambition. Turning the rest of the AAR’s recommendations into reality now relies on a full, positive Government response to the Review – and an effective Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.”
The AAR, which was developed in partnership with the Wellcome Trust, made a total of 18 recommendations that could propel a step change in access and uptake of innovation in the country.
It is hoped that the government will respond to this before the end of the calendar year.