Health Policy May 2, 2019
DHSC boosts programme to accelerate innovative medicines access for patients

By News Feature - Accountable Care Journal

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) have announced an expansion to the Accelerated Access Collaborative (ACC) in an attempt to accelerate the most promising medicines, diagnostic tools and digital services through the clinical development and regulatory approval process.

The AAC, which brings together the government, NHS and industry leaders, will act as the front door for innovators looking to get their products funded by the NHS and will provide a tailored package of support to overcome the barriers in the NHS which can prevent the best medical innovations from reaching patients.

The AAC has already selected and supported 12 ‘rapid uptake products’ to increase their uptake and use within the NHS, including; a blood test for pre-eclampsia, which can diagnose the condition earlier in pregnancy and significantly reduce life-threatening complications.

The DHSC estimates that the products have the potential to improve the lives of around 500,000 patients and save the NHS up to £30 million.

The new AAC will: 

  • Implement a system to identify the best new innovations and make sure the NHS is ready to make use of them; 
  • Establish a single point of contact for innovators working inside or outside the NHS, so they can understand the system and where to go for support;  
  • Signal the needs of clinicians and patients, so innovators know which problems they need to solve; 
  • Establish a globally leading testing infrastructure, so innovators can generate the evidence they need to get their products into the NHS
  • Oversee a health innovation funding strategy that ensures public money is focused on the areas of greatest impact for the NHS and patients and aligns with the excellent work of charities, research organisations and VC funds; and
  • Support the NHS to become stronger in its adoption of all innovations to ensure patients get access to the best new innovations faster than ever before.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan and the government’s Life Sciences Sector Deals, the AAC is being boosted to become the umbrella organisation for UK health innovation.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood envisions that "patients and the NHS can be the first in the world to benefit from the most transformative technologies and treatments as part of our Long Term Plan."

The AAC will sit within a new unit in NHS England and NHS Improvement, which will be led by Dr Sam Roberts as Chief Executive. Sam is currently Director of Innovation and Research at NHSE&I and the new unit will have an integrated innovation and medicines senior management team across NHS England and NHS Improvement which will bring together the coordination of medicines policy, commercial agreement and broader innovation policy and delivery.

The expansion builds on the progress made by the AAC over the past 12 months, under the Chairmanship of Lord Darzi, by bringing together leaders from the NHS, industry and government to tackle the most pressing issues in healthcare innovation. Lord Darzi will remain Chair of the Board and the AAC will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders to create a streamlined and pro-innovation healthcare system.

Lord Darzi called the announcement an "exciting step towards achieving our vision for a health system which embraces and accelerates the adoption of innovation, for the benefit of patients, the NHS and UK economy as a whole. ”

Further to this, Lord David Prior, chair of NHS England commented: "Our ambition is very clear: the NHS will be the most innovative health care system in the world with much easier access and much quicker uptake of new and innovative products. This applies to therapeutics, diagnostics, digital devices and our whole supply chain. It is a top priority for the NHS."

The full list of Rapid Uptake Products are available here

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