NHS patients to get faster access to pioneering treatments

Accelerating access to treatments and services is being improved so that more patients can benefit

Healthcare assistant using syringe close up

New improvements to the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) will put the most promising medicines, diagnostic tools and digital services through the clinical development and regulatory approval process faster.

The AAC was set up in 2018 to speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products for conditions such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.

It will now become the new umbrella organisation for UK health innovation. It will act as the ‘front door’ for innovators looking to get their products funded by the NHS and will provide support to overcome barriers that can prevent the best medical innovations from reaching patients.

To do this, a new unit in NHS England and NHS Improvement will be established, led by Dr Sam Roberts as chief executive.

The new AAC will:

• implement a system to identify the best new innovations and make sure the NHS is ready to make use of them

• set up a single point of call for innovators working inside or outside the NHS, so they can understand the system and where to go for support

• signal the needs of clinicians and patients, so innovators know which problems they need to solve

• establish a globally leading testing infrastructure, so innovators can generate the evidence they need to get their products into the NHS

• oversee a health innovation funding strategy that ensures public money is focused on the areas of greatest impact for the NHS and patients

• support the NHS to more quickly adopt clinically and cost-effective innovations, to ensure patients get access to the best new treatments and technologies faster than ever before

The AAC has already selected and supported 12 ‘rapid uptake products’ to increase their use within the NHS. This includes a blood test for pre-eclampsia, which can diagnose the condition earlier in pregnancy and significantly reduce life-threatening complications.

Together the products have the potential to improve the lives of around 500,000 patients and save the NHS up to £30 million.

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said:

"I want the NHS to be at the forefront of cutting-edge treatments and medical innovations – but often it can take too long for products to get from the bench to the bedside.

"The Accelerated Access Collaborative will speed up this process so patients and the NHS can be the first in the world to benefit from the most transformative technologies and treatments as part of our Long Term Plan."

Lord David Prior, chair of NHS England, 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."

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