Government Investment to Speed Up Access to New Technologies and Fund the Early Access to Medicines Scheme for SMEs

The government has announced that Innovative UK firms will benefit from a new package of support worth up to £86 million. The aim is to help these companies to develop real world medical breakthroughs that will benefit patients across the NHS. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can bid for funding which will be provided to develop and test new technologies in the NHS. This could be, for example, digital technologies which will help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or to develop new medicines. This funding will also enable businesses to accelerate the time that it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.

This £86m funding is the first step in taking forward the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) – an independently chaired review, which made recommendations to Government on speeding up patient access to new technologies.

Examples of technologies that have already received similar support include MyCOPD – an online system which helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) better manage their condition.

Health Minister Lord O’ Shaughnessy said:

“The Government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible.

“That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – like speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs.

“Our investment in innovation shows how much we value the UK life sciences sector.”

The funding is split into four packages, including:

  • £39 million of funding available to the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs), enabling them to locally assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need.
  • A £35 million Digital Health Technology Catalyst for innovators – this will match fund the development of digital technologies for use by patients and the NHS.
  • Up to £6 million over the next three years to support SMEs with innovative medicines and devices to get the evidence they need by testing in the real world, building on existing opportunities such as the Early Access to Medicine Scheme (EAMS).
  • A £6 million Pathway Transformation Fund which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices – this will help overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff on how to use new equipment.

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Published on 14. July 2017 in News UK