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Easier access to funding of new medical technology proposed under consultation that seeks views from healthcare staff

by Julie Griffiths
13 June 2024

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The views of clinicians and practice staff are being sought in an NHS England and NICE consultation on fast-tracking the development of medical technology.

The plans aim to move towards a clearer, more predictable route for the evaluation, funding, and commissioning of medtech in the NHS. For example, its goal is to provide greater certainty for tech innovators and suppliers as well as improve outcomes for patients.

One of the principles in the consultation document is a commitment to automatic funding to support the routine commissioning of the technologies that meet required criteria.

Other principles include that the route to development should be supported by evidence-based advice and guidance and that it should support the transformation of clinical pathways and services.

It also says that it should help tackle ethnic and unfair biases in medtech.

The proposals in the consultation document have been developed by NHS England and NICE with input from the Department of Health and Social Care and other partners, including the Office for Life Science (OLS) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

NICE will determine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the most promising new medical technologies, for which it is already updating its evaluation methods.

The document also states that the pathway will evolve over time and it follows the publication in February last year of a medtech strategy.

Dr Vin Diwakar, interim medical director for transformation at NHS England, said: ‘We are eager to hear from patients, industry, clinicians and the public to help us develop and shape the medtech pathway to ensure it can provide the greatest clinical and cost-effective benefit.’

Mark Chapman, director of the Health Technologies Programme at NICE, said: ‘This new pathway aims to ensure that patients in every area of the country can benefit from the best products, devices, digital technologies, or a diagnostic innovation. It will bring clarity to medtech developers, giving them a clear route to accessing NHS funding, in the same way the pharmaceutical industry currently benefits from.’

Feedback on the proposals is being sought from patients, clinicians, academics, and industry and can be submitted via the consultation webpage.

The consultation closes on 15 August.