Innovative firms in the North West Coast and across the UK will benefit from a new national package of support worth up to £86 million to help them develop real world medical breakthroughs that will help patients across the NHS.
A Government announcement of new support for health innovation will enable businesses to bid for funding to develop and test new technologies in the NHS. This could include innovations such as digital technologies to help patients manage their conditions from home instead of a hospital, or to develop new medicines.
In Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and south Cumbria it will be the role of the Innovation Agency 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. The Innovation Agency is one of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks and covers the North West Coast.
Technologies that have already received support and are bringing benefits to patients include MyCOPD, an online system which helps people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to better manage their condition. It has helped more than 32,000 patients by allowing them to improve breathing, manage flare-ups and track medicine use – reducing the reliance on GP and hospital appointments.
The funding is split into four packages. These are:
- £39 million of funding available to the 15 Academic Health Science Networks, 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.
- 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.
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.