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Device Week, 2 July 2019: What Are The Prospects For Medtech Innovation In A Post-Brexit UK?

Executive Summary

It may often seem like Brexit is the only story in town in the UK, but within health care and medtech a lot of system transformation and future planning for access to medtech innovation is underway, as this installment of Medtech Insight's Device Week podcast with Ashley Yeo and Amanda Maxwell underlines.

The government departments overseeing health and social care (DHSC) and business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) in the UK have made great strides in the past two to three years jointly building platforms that will allow the adoption of innovative medtech as effectively as happens in some other major health-care markets.

This podcast talks about those structures now being established to follow on from the NHS’ 2014-19 Five-Year Forward View (FYFV), including the new Long Term Plan, the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), and the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) – newly supercharged by incoming chief executive Sam Roberts.

Three New Industries

The wisdom is that digital technologies will be pivotal to providing affordable, demand-meeting health care delivery in the coming ten years, after which health care will be almost unrecognizable from the structures promised under the first long term plan for the NHS dating back to 2000. "Digital" is being developed as a whole new industry within NHS circles. New digital hubs are being planned to speed the integration of the best solutions and thereby drive the transformation of health care, how it is delivered and paid for, and who is in control. 

Genomics-based health-care solutions are also being championed, based very much on UK legacy expertise from Illumina Inc. and Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. This is the second "new industry," and a third is early diagnosis, which will be a major focus of efforts to ensure health care is both accessible and affordable. Together, these three “new industries” are intended to meet these growing challenges head.

Critics will be quick to say the UK has embarked on many similar endeavors since the 2000 NHS Plan. NHS England's answer to this is that, with new structures, a new appetite for partnerships and system alignment from stakeholders, and new people taking a lead in innovation delivery such as the AAC's Roberts and its chair Lord Darzi, the UK is finally ready to make good on its promises and exploit what is seen as golden period for health-care innovation and delivery. Such future-oriented planning also serves to show that, contrary to the popular view, the UK is not hide-bound by Brexit.


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