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NHS could save £7bn with greater diagnostics use

Report suggests IVD tests could be key to big savings

Doctor

The NHS could shave up to £7bn off its estimated £22bn deficit by 2023 if it takes advantage of diagnostic tools, according to a report by Innovate UK and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA).

A wider adoption of in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) is an “obvious” savings route according to the report, which claims that a handful of these tests are already on the market but uptake is far too slow.

IVDs – tests performed outside of a patient’s body – offer “accurate, convenient and a less invasive way” to diagnose and monitor conditions, meaning that patients would likely receive more timely and appropriate treatment regimes.

Dr Kath Mackay, interim director for ageing society, health and nutrition, Innovate UK, said: “There are so many innovative diagnostic tests on the market and in development.

“It’s important for all stakeholders that we take every opportunity to rapidly adopt tests which show cost savings and benefit to patients."

The report specifically evaluated the savings of three existing IVD tests - covering suspected heart attacks, pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - if widely used.

It found that using the high sensitivity cardiac troponin test to diagnose or rule out heart attack in patients with chest pains visiting A&E – which account for 3% of attendances – would save the NHS a whopping £6.8bn over five years.

A similar story was presented with IVDs ruling out pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, with the report claiming that the test could reduce costs by £22.4m if used across all clinics.

Lastly, IVDs for common bowel condition IBS could save the cash-stripped service £65m over the next five years, if doctors used the test as standard practice instead of referring patients to hospital for a colonoscopy.

The report - which calls on healthcare leaders and policy makers to better assess the use of these tests – comes just after the UK government announced a 3.4% per annum increase in NHS funding up to 2023.

Article by
Gemma Jones

19th June 2018

From: Healthcare

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