Innovation wins as industry welcomes Darzi review
Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS promises improved patient access to innovative technologies. Industry trade organisations ABHI, AdvaMed and BIVDA see great potential in its proposals.
Lord Darzi’s NHS Next Stage Review has received the early backing of some of the leading trade organisations from across the UK medtech industry.
The review, which was published in July to coincide with the NHS’s 60th birthday celebrations, promises to shift health service emphasis from increasing the quantity of care to improving its clinical quality. Significantly, Darzi’s plans also promise to improve patient access to innovative medicines and technologies and states that innovation will be central to the NHS – a commitment that has been welcomed by the medtech industry.
“In his review Darzi returns to the problem of uptake of new technologies by the NHS, identified by Wanless in 2001,” said Andy Taylor, Policy Director, Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI). “In the intervening years improvement has been slow, so this renewed focus on access is very welcome. Patients in the UK are often amongst the last to benefit from even UK-produced innovations and this clearly needs to be addressed. Patients must be empowered to demand the highest standards of service and quality, with all NICE approved treatments and technologies made available to all patients irrespective of postcode.”
The NHS Next Stage Review recommends the formation of ‘Health Innovation and Education Clusters” composed of all parts of the NHS, academics and industry, and new funding for innovation to be held by Strategic Health Authorities (SHA) and awarded in competitions. “Darzi also addresses the problems of access to innovative technologies, and proposes solutions through streamlined technology appraisals, compulsory availability of approved treatments, and a statutory duty to promote innovation for SHAs,” said Andy Taylor.
The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) has also hailed the Review and believes its recommendations will have positive implications for the medical device industry. “We appreciate the commitment to innovation and patient access reflected in the report’s recommendations, and as we move forward we will continue to work with our UK partners to find ways to address these important issues,” said Stephen Ubl, President at AdvaMed. “We are pleased it makes specific suggestions and highlights mechanisms to recognise and reward innovative technology within the UK healthcare system and address patient needs. This is important in terms of both patient care and future innovation in medical devices.”
The notion of patient choice, which lies at the heart of the Review, has also earned plaudits. One of its flagship initiatives – a draft NHS Constitution – aims to provide a framework to deliver patient choice. Proposals for the Constitution, which aims to give patients a new legal right to choose between treatment options available to them, have been applauded by the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA).
“Diagnostics have a vital role in ensuring that patients are more in control of their health, and the Constitution and introduction of individual care plans will increase patients’ understanding of the services and care they can expect,” said Doris-Ann Williams, Director General of BIVDA. “Diagnostic testing has a significant role to play in preventing ill health, so we welcome the Government’s focus in the Review on helping people to stay healthy and to improve access to health checks and point of care testing in more convenient locations. The introduction of increased measures to support patients with long-term conditions will also be beneficial.
“We welcome the introduction of locally-commissioned wellbeing and prevention services, so that the specific health needs of communities can be addressed. Together with access to diagnostics in a broader range of settings, such as pharmacy and workplaces, there will be greater opportunities to test for a range of preventable health conditions, and so reduce ill health and costs to the NHS.”For full analysis and interpretation of the NHS Next Stage Review, check out On Target’s coverage on pages 10–13.