£86m funding announced for new medicine and technology

Government funding will speed up access to new medicine and technology by supporting businesses to develop and test their innovations

£86m has been made available to speed up the development and adoption of new health technologies

The Government has announced funding of up to £86m to support UK firms in developing new medical breakthroughs.

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

The package will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop and test new technologies in the NHS.

This could include innovations such as digital technologies to help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or new medicines.

Access to this funding will also speed up the time it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.

The announcement is the first step in taking forward the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) – an independently-chaired panel, which made recommendations to the Government on speeding up patient access to new technologies.

Technologies that have previously received support are already bringing benefits to patients. For example, MyCOPD is an online system that helps people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to better manage their condition.

It has helped over 32,000 patients by helping them improve their breathing, manage flare-ups, and track medicine use. This, in turn, reduces reliance on GPs and the need for hospital appointments.

Health Minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, said: “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.

“Our investment in innovation shows how much we value the UK life sciences sector.”

The funding is split into four packages. These include:

  • £39m for Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need
  • A £35m Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators – this will match-fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS
  • Up to £6m over the next three years to help SMEs with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS)
  • A £6m Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices. This will help overcome more-practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment

Business Minister, Lord Prior, said: “The Government has an important role to play in driving innovation that will increase economic growth and support businesses across the country.

The measures could significantly enhance the UK as a destination of choice for MedTech companies, in turn, benefiting patients, the health system, and the wider economy

“Through this funding we will quicken the pace of scientific discovery and innovation in the UK. Our Industrial Strategy will boost our status a global hub for life sciences.

Peter Ellingworth, chief executive of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), added: “These additional funding initiatives will complement work already in place on Innovation Tariff, NICE processes, and horizon scanning as part of the overall Accelerated Access Review.

“The measures could significantly enhance the UK as a destination of choice for MedTech companies, in turn, benefiting patients, the health system, and the wider economy.”

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