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Government creates new NHS organisation to fast-track medicines and technologies


By Valeria Fiore
Reporter
3 May 2019

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An initiative to fast-track new medicines and technologies for NHS use has been upgraded to become a new organisation, the Government has announced.

The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) will make sure the most advanced medicines, diagnostic tools and digital services reach patients as soon as possible, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

First introduced in April 2018 to quickly identify products for conditions including cancer, dementia and diabetes, AAC has today become the ‘umbrella organisation for UK health innovation’.

The new organisation will be part of NHS England and NHS Improvement and led by Dr Sam Roberts – currently director of innovation and research at NHS England and NHS Improvement – as chief executive.

The DHSC said the organisation 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’.

Since its introduction, AAC has identified and supported the introduction of 12 products, including a new type of blood test that helps identify the condition of pre-eclampsia during pregnancies.

The selected products could improve the lives of around 500,000 patients and save the NHS up to £30m, the DHSC said.

AAC duties

The new organisation will:

  • Oversee the implementation of a system to find the best new innovations
  • Act as a single point of call for innovators working inside or outside the NHS
  • Raise awareness on what clinicians and patients need
  • Establish a globally leading testing infrastructure, for innovators to generate the evidence to get their products into the NHS
  • Oversee a health innovation funding strategy to make sure public money goes where it is most needed
  • Help the NHS get access to innovations faster than before

NHS England chair Lord David Prior said: ‘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.’

Commenting on Dr Roberts appointment, chair of the AAC board Lord Darzi said: ‘I am delighted that Dr Sam Roberts has been appointed to lead the boosted AAC as the new chief executive.

‘I look forward to working closely with Sam and the other members of the AAC board to build on the excellent progress made by the AAC so far, ensuring patients are given faster access to life-changing innovations.’

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