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MedTech Funding Mandate is positive for patients, but what next?

The MedTech Funding Mandate Policy, developed as part of the NHS Long Term Plan commitment to get selected innovative medical devices, diagnostics and digital products to patients faster, is now due to launch on April 1, 2021, having been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021/22 the policy will support devices, diagnostics or digital products that are effective, deliver material savings to the NHS, are cost-saving in-year and affordable to the health service.

The first four technologies are:

  • placental growth factor-based testing to rule out pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • SecurAcath for securing percutaneous catheters
  • HeartFlow which creates a 3D model of a patient’s coronary arteries and assesses blockages
  • gammaCore – a handheld device which alleviates the symptoms of severe cluster headaches.

The policy shows promise for further innovation adoption, with regular review by the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) team of NICE guidance on medical technologies and diagnostics to identify and highlight devices to providers and commissioners.

Collaboration across the AAC, technology suppliers, patients and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) will look to support NHS organisations to implement these innovations, as well as help understand local and regional issues and share learnings to identify barriers to uptake.

“Any new funding stream such as the Medtech Funding Mandate that supports the uptake of proven, cost effective, medical technology is good news for patients,” said Barbara Harpham, chair of the MTG, speaking to MobiHealthNews.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of positive steps towards addressing some of the barriers, including the Innovation and Technology Payment programme. While the criteria have been quite narrow – needing a return on investment within a year for example – the general direction of travel has been encouraging.

“The next step should be a more joined up approach to adopting new technologies, including a single ‘front door’ and a clear model for innovators – so it’s clear when they need to engage, the likely outcome, and the timelines involved.

“It’s also vital that patients have a clear role. They are often the last to be consulted, so their voice should be heard as early as possible in the process.”

The MTG will publish its own recommendations for a Medical Technology Access Accelerator in March.

January 2021

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