New innovations reach 300,000 NHS patients

New technological innovations for patients are being introduced across the NHS including 3D heart modelling to diagnose coronary disease, and an advanced blood test which can cut the time it takes to rule out a heart attack by 75%.

New innovations have already reached 300,000 patients, and at the Reform digital health conference, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced that over 400,000 more will benefit this year from new tests, procedures and treatments as part of the Long Term Plan.

Innovations being supported include:

  • 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 six days of gestation, alongside standard clinical assessment.
  • High sensitivity troponin test – A blood test that when combined with clinical judgement can help rapidly rule-out heart attacks.
  • Gammacore – A hand-held device that delivers mild electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve to block the pain signals that cause cluster headaches.
  • 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 – 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.

The new treatments and tests are being delivered as part of the NHS’ Innovation and Technology Payment programme, which is fast-tracking the roll-out of latest technology across the country, building on progress in the past two years.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “From improving care for pregnant women to using digital modelling to assess heart conditions and new tests to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations for suspected heart attacks, the NHS is taking action to ensure patients have access to the very best modern technologies. It’s heartening to see the NHS grasping with both hands these rapidly advancing medical innovations.”

Plans to speed up the uptake of proven, cutting-edge treatments is being overseen by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), a joint NHS, government and industry effort.

Dr Sam Roberts, chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, 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.

“We will build on this success with our commitments set out in the Long Term Plan, to support the latest advances and make it easier for even more patients to benefit from world-class technology.”

As set out in the Long Term Plan, the NHS will introduce a new funding mandate for proven health tech products so the NHS can adopt new, cost saving innovations as easily as it already introduces new clinically and cost effective medicines.

Lord Darzi, chair of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, said: “As Chair of the AAC, I am delighted that four of the seven technology areas currently receiving AAC support have been selected for this NHS programme.

“This is a vital step in helping patients receive rapid access to the best, proven innovations being developed in our world-class health system.”

This is the third year of the drive to identify and fast track specific innovations into the NHS, which has already benefitted over 300,000 patients across the NHS.

The NHS’ own innovation agencies – the 15 Academic Health Science Networks across England – will take direct responsibility for accelerating uptake locally.



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