DHSC updates on medtech strategy progress, including work around adoption, infrastructure and more

Following the publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s medical technology strategy last February, an update exploring progress made over the past year has been shared, highlighting how work has gone into enhancing the innovation pathway, enabling infrastructure, and providing new funding.

When it comes to entry points for medical technology, DHSC highlights the launch of the Innovative Devices Access Pathway pilot in September 2023, bringing together regulatory, assessment and NHS partners “to provide enhanced support through a sequential pathway”; the publication of the small and medium enterprise action plan in February 2024; and the publication of the medical technology innovation classification framework “to introduce a single version of truth for innovative language” in April 2024. The next step, expected this year, will be the launch of the next phase of the Design for Life programme “to support a move towards a circular economy for medtech”.

On approvals, funding and commercial, DHSC notes that NICE has been commissioned to undertake late-stage assessments of existing medtech categories, with the first category recommendations due to be published by autumn 2024. Additionally, the launch of the £30 million Health Technology Adoption and Acceleration Fund in October 2023 is intended to help ICSs invest in medtech “so support winter pressures”, with further support coming from NHS Supply Chain’s launch of its first Medical Technology Dynamic Purchasing System for Innovative Products in January 2024. Later this year, the update shares that a “value-based procurement methodology” will be launched with the aim of offering guidance and support around improving consistency and to”reduce the burden to industry”.

Regarding adoption, DHSC highlights that the mandate set out by the NHS last year included the requirement for all NHS trusts to submit data to the new Outcome and Registries Programme by March 2024. Also in this area, the update notes ongoing plans to expand national registries covering surgical activity to “support adoption of the most effective medtech and reduce unwarranted variation”.

On enabling infrastructure and advancing health equity in medical devices, the update covers a number of developments, including the launch of a procurement process for a national Product Information Management database; the development of NHS Supply Chain’s National Equipment Tracking and Inventory System; and the publication of an independent review on equity in medical devices.

To read the DHSC’s update in full, please click here.

In other news from DHSC, last month we highlighted a prior information notice for interoperability architecture to support social care data sharing; and in February we shared DHSC’s announcement that £10 million in funding will be used in part to support eight selected health tech companies in bringing innovative solutions to market.

Earlier this month, HTN reported on NHS England’s priorities and operational planning guidance for 2024/25; and we looked into the latest board papers from NHSE here.