Report to Help Improve NHS Uptake of Medical Devices

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The Government and the medical devices industry today publish their report Innovation for health: making a difference. It sets out plans for acceleration of the use of medical innovation more widely across the NHS for the benefit of patients. It also gives a clearer picture of what the medical device industry needs in order to grow and prosper.

This report is the culmination of the joint work taken forward by the Strategic Implementation Group which was set up by the Healthcare Industries Task Force (HITF) to oversee the implementation of the 9 key HITF outputs.

Health Minister, Lord Hunt, said:
"Medical innovation has a major role to play in helping the NHS improve quality of life for patients. This report outlines the achievements gained by Government and industry working in partnership and the further benefits to be realised from our continued co-operation"

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At its final meeting on 26 February 2007, the Strategic Implementation Group agreed six recommendations to take forward:
- working toward the adoption and implementation of the procurement framework by the NHS involving key stakeholders, including patients, clinicians and industry. The framework will support the uptake of technologies and innovations which can lead to improvements in healthcare provision, patient safety and value for money.
- a stocktake of existing support mechanisms and of access to private finance for small and medium sized (SMEs) medical device companies and a review of what measures would be needed to address any issues that are identified.
- development of a UK marketing strategy covering both inward investment and export opportunities for the main industry sub-sectors.
- measurement and analysis of the UK healthcare industry environment - further development of key indicators to focus on success factors related to innovation, trade surplus and inward investment.
- Government and industry to play an active role in the European Commission's inquiry into the competitiveness of the European medical devices industry.
- creation of a new mechanism for continuing the engagement between Government and industry.

Sir Christopher O'Donnell, Chief Executive of Smith & Nephew, said:
"Putting patients at the centre of all that we do is the key to aligning the interests of the Government, the NHS and industry. By focusing on mechanisms which accelerate the rate at which innovative treatments get from the laboratory to the front line of NHS care we can create a virtuous circle. Patients should get the best treatments in a timely manner and our industry seeks to convert the creativity of doctors and scientists into innovative technologies to achieve this."

Collaborative working with key stakeholders has enabled practical measures and mechanisms to be identified to help improve patient access to the latest treatments medical technology companies can provide. Key achievements include:

- establishment of a National Innovation Centre which is already beginning to link innovators with appropriate financial, clinical and commercial partners to help them bring promising new products successfully to market
- inclusion of medical devices and technologies within the work programme of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration
- development of a new device evaluation service (the Centre for Evidence-based Purchasing) within the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA) to provide objective evidence to support uptake of useful, safe innovative products
- development of a procurement framework for the NHS to embed modern approaches to procurement in the NHS and to deliver increased value for the service of patients
- launch of a training hub to support use by the NHS of advanced training tools for key innovative surgical procedures
- development of two pilot Healthcare Technology Cooperatives from April 2007 to pioneer new technology-based treatments in areas of unmet clinical need.

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