31061 - NHS: Technology (Answered)

Mr David Anderson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he plans to take to increase the availability and uptake of innovative technology available to patients on the NHS; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman

The Government is actively supporting a number of initiatives to accelerate access to innovative treatments. These include the Early Access to Medicines Schemes which supports access in the United Kingdom to unlicensed or off-label medicines and represents a significant advance in treatment in areas of unmet medical need and the Accelerated Access Review, which aims to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices, diagnostics and digital products for National Health Service patients, and to make the UK the best place to develop these innovations.

NHS England supports the invention and adoption of transformative healthcare technologies. This includes existing technologies, where the benefits are already proven but wider adoption is critical to benefit all patients, and new technologies, which require larger scale trials to test out their impact individually and in combination. Current initiatives include the sponsorship of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (£48 million core funding in 2015-16), the Small Business Research Initiative (£20 million in 2015-16), and the Test Bed programme which is providing funding for frontline health and care workers to evaluate the use of novel combinations of interconnected devices such as wearable monitors, data analysis and new ways of working.

NHS England has been tasked under section 7.1 of the NHS Mandate to “Implement the agreed recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review including developing ambition and trajectory on NHS uptake of affordable and cost-effective new innovations”.