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Government publishes update on MedTech Strategy

By April 10, 2024No Comments

The Government has published an update to the MedTech Strategy, underscoring the achievements made since its launch last year and the next steps to boost the adoption of medical technology in the NHS.

The Government’s overall ambition is to provide patients with faster access to the right products by streamlining the end-to-end innovation pathway. To achieve this, they seek to provide clearer signals to industry on the innovation patients need, reform the regulatory framework for medical devices, expand assessments of product categories, improve clarity over funding routes and make procurement an enabler for innovation.

By building on the priorities of the strategy and the Accelerated Access Collaborative’s health technology pathway, the report has identified the 4 overarching stages of the pathway improvement:

Entry point

Progress made includes the publication of NHSE’s SME Action Plan, the first selection of the IDAP pilot, the release of the medical technology innovation classification framework (covered in a separate article this week). In 2024, the next phase of the Design for Life programme will be launched to support a move towards a circular economy for medtech.

The Government has commissioned NICE to undertake late-stage assessments of existing medtech categories, with the first category recommendations due to be published by autumn 2024. This complements NICE’s early value assessment programme piloted in 2023 to 2024. This programme assesses promising new technologies at an early stage and forms part of NICE’s new lifecycle approach to technology evaluation, that ensures NICE has the ability to look at any technology at any stage across the product lifecycle, to ensure best use of taxpayers’ money. They are also set to unveil a introduce an international recognition framework for medical devices as part of the core regulatory changes.

Funding and commercial

The update also includes a specific section on diagnostics. Here are some of the key points:

  • The NHS has successfully worked with private providers to deliver elements of the CDC programme, in line with the recommendations in the Sir Mike Richard’s review into diagnostic recovery and renewal. The NHS South West region has pioneered an independent sector and NHS partnership CDC network across the region, including 5 independent sector-led CDCs and a fleet of independent sector
    mobile units using a managed clinical service model approach.
  • The NHS is using improvements to pathways to diagnose cancers faster. As of January 2024, 77.8% of referrals for suspected lower
    gastro-intestinal cancers now use faecal immunochemical testing, a test that looks for microscopic amounts of blood in a stool
    sample and can identify patients at risk of bowel cancer, up from 22% in April 2022. This means patients at higher risk can be
    prioritised for endoscopies, whereas other patients can be given the all-clear without an invasive procedure.
  • The NHS is investing in a range of innovations to improve early diagnosis, including the cytosponge and colon capsule endoscopy trials and the largest ongoing trial of multi-cancer early detection tests through the GRAIL-Galleri trial.
Ben Kemp