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Accelerating access to innovation in the NHS

The MTG believes in improved patient access to medical technologies and sharing better information about the availability of the latest innovations. So we read with interest the recent announcement from Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation Rob Webster regarding his vision for a successful Accelerated Access Review.

The workstream being championed by Mr Webster will aim to accelerate the speed at which truly transformative innovation gets through the system and to patients. The need for such change is long overdue. Webster argues that bureaucracy, cultural prejudices of ‘not invented here’, and misaligned risk tolerance or financial incentives are holding back the NHS.

Through our ongoing campaigns we also have highlighted market access barriers encountered by our members and the difficulties faced by clinicians wanting to get hold of the latest medical technologies. We have also campaigned for better and faster patient access to technologies that we know will lead to better patient outcomes. It is therefore truly encouraging that the inconsistencies in the system have been recognised and that the voice of our members is being heard. We recognise also that medical technologies must pay their way.

At a time when finances are under strict scrutiny there is no room for costly medical devices that do not deliver the best possible patient outcomes. To avoid this it is vital that clinicians, patients and others in the decision making process have a better understanding of the latest innovations so they can make the best possible decisions.

Medical technology is evolving constantly so the need for education will be continuous. Our members will welcome the opportunity to engage further with the NHS regarding innovation and we will continue to campaign for better access to information about the latest innovations to medical technology.

To boost cost effectiveness, medical technologies must also be seen in the context of each patient’s condition and an understanding of the long-term impact of limiting access to the latest technology on the grounds of initial cost.

We have long been a consistent voice regarding medical technology‘s potential for helping patients while also reducing costs. For example we have highlighted how early interventions using medical devices can not only improve patient outcomes but also lead to cost savings in the mid and long term that far outweigh the initial cost of the device.

So we echo Mr Webster’s belief that innovation and change can drive cost reduction and improved services at scale. We applaud Mr Webster’s vision and look forward to the outcomes of the review.

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