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Roche Diagnostics among beneficiaries as NHS fast-tracks more tech

AHSNs will be responsible for regional uptake


NHS England has selected a crop of diagnostics and healthcare technology for rapid uptake across the health service, complete with its own dedicated budget allocation.

Among the products are Roche Diagnostics’ Elecsys high sensitivity troponin test, a blood test that can aid clinical judgement to help rapidly rule-out heart attacks.

Another is HeartFlow, advanced image analysis software that creates a 3D model of the coronary arteries and analyses the impact that blockages have on blood flow, allowing rapid diagnosis of patients with suspected coronary artery disease.

The fast track system is being conducted through the Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) 2019/20, a new dedicated national budget for innovative diagnostics and devices, a move aimed at promoting more rapid uptake across the country.

Earlier versions of the funding have been running for two years, and NHS England says over 300,000 patients have already benefited.

The funding is expressly for medical devices, digital platforms and technologies, and is not intended for pharmaceutical products or research projects.

The new funding mandate is part of the Long Term Plan, and aims to pick out technology that can not only improve outcomes for patients, but also save the NHS money.

Many of the chosen products are also being promoted by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), which also includes novel medicines on its fast-track list.

The AAC is a joint NHS, government and industry effort, and aims to make the NHS the world’s most innovation-friendly health system.


NHS England's Dr Sam Roberts

Dr Sam Roberts, is director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England and recently also took on the new role of chief executive of the AAC.

She said: “This programme has been amazingly successful at getting new tests and treatments to patients, with over 300,000 patients benefitting already, and this year we have another great selection of proven innovations.”

She promised to support these latest advances and make it easier for more patients to benefit from world-class technology.

Innovations being supported include:

* Roche Diagnostics’ Elecsys Placental growth factor (PIGF) based test – A blood test to help rule out pre eclampsia in women suspected to have the condition who are between 20 weeks and 34 weeks plus 6 days of gestation, alongside standard clinical assessment.

* Roche Diagnostics’ Elecsys High sensitivity troponin test– A blood test that when combined with clinical judgement can help rapidly rule-out heart attacks.

* Electrocore’s Gammacore – A hand-held device that delivers mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve to block the pain signals that cause cluster headaches.

* Augmenix’s SpaceOAR – A hydrogel injected between the prostate and rectum prior to radiotherapy, that temporarily creates a space between them so that the radiation dose to the rectum can be minimised, reducing complications like rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea.

* Heartflow’s HeartFlow – Advanced image analysis software that creates a 3D model of the coronary arteries and analyses the impact that blockages have on blood flow to rapidly diagnose patients with suspected coronary artery disease.

Geoff Twist

Roche Diagnostics' Geoff Twist

Geoff Twist, Managing Director (UK and Ireland) at Roche Diagnostics, said: “We are delighted that NHS England has accepted two of our products for the Innovation and Technology Payment programme, which provides ring-fenced funding for NHS Trusts to implement ground-breaking new products within their hospitals.

Both of its two products are already on the AAC list of rapid uptake products.

Twist says diagnostic testing accounts for 70% of clinical decisions, yet only makes up 1% of total NHS spend.

At Roche, we have long called for mandated funding for NICE-approved diagnostic tests and we are delighted at this important step forward. It is especially exciting that two of our tests are the first in-vitro diagnostic products to receive ITP funding, and we look forward to seeing how this scheme continues in the future.”

Companies like Roche in the diagnostics and devices sector know how difficult it is to change local NHS commissioning and uptake of new technology, which has always been hugely variable until now.

The bodies charged with changing this at the frontline will be England’s 15 regional Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), who will seek to persuade local trusts that investments in the technology will help frontline staff and ease budgets, as  well as helping patients.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

5th June 2019

From: Healthcare



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