We are reminded on a daily basis that the NHS is facing unprecedented pressures.
In many ways, this is not a new problem. However, it is one which has been exacerbated by an aging population, the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and ongoing strike action.
Successive Prime Ministers have placed the NHS at the heart of their agenda. Most recently, when Rishi Sunak set out his five priorities for his premiership, the NHS was very firmly on the list. An ambition echoed by Keir Starmer when he set out his five missions for the country last week, outlining plans to cut waiting lists.
In recent weeks we’ve seen a number of announcements aimed at showing that the Government is prioritising action. Alongside the Government’s renewed focus on science, innovation and technology, this includes the announcement, in early February, of the Government’s inaugural MedTech strategy.
Launching the Strategy, Health Minister Will Quince said that it is in part an attempt to build on some of the learnings and innovations developed during the COVID 19 pandemic and ensure resilience for the future.
This is a welcome acknowledgement of the critical role the sector already plays in supporting patients and clinicians alike, its potential to drive understanding of health over the longer term and also a recognition of the vital contribution the industry makes to the UK economy.
In short, the strategy is about ensuring three things: right product, right price and right place. This means delivering high quality patient care by giving patients access to safe, effective, and innovative equipment, whilst delivering value for money.
No small ask but a sensible and reassuring ambition. However, the reality of achieving this is far less straightforward. A challenge which the Government recognises that it cannot solve alone, and through this strategy, is looking to all stakeholders, including business, to play their part.
Helpfully, the Strategy sets out where the Government believes there are gaps and opportunities to drive its approach in four keys areas:
By highlighting these areas, the Government has effectively provided a checklist for businesses working in this sector.
The implementation plan for delivery will be published later in the year. If you believe your business can help the Government deliver against these criteria, now is the time to start a dialogue with those who will be responsible for driving this strategy over the longer term.
And returning to the very big question posed at the outset, it would be too simplistic to suggest that MedTech alone is the solution to the challenges of the NHS. But used well, it has the potential to make a significant contribution to alleviating current pressures and creating a health service fit for the future.
By doing this, the Government will have made some progress towards solving what is perhaps the biggest headache it faces.
For businesses who can demonstrate that they have a valuable contribution to make, whether through a product, research, or ideas for collaboration, one thing is clear, the Government wants to hear from you.
If you would like an informal conversation about how Brands2Life could assist your organisation to maximise engagement with the Government’s MedTech Strategy, please email [email protected].