News story

Experts share ideas to improve access to new medical treatments

Health and industry experts attend workshop on how to give patients better access to transformative new medicines and medical technologies.

On 2 July, the Accelerated Access Review team hosted a workshop at Guy’s hospital that brought together 50 representatives from the NHS, patient groups and charities, industry, academia and health bodies such as NHS England, NICE and Monitor. It was one of many opportunities people will have to help develop new ways of thinking and challenge each other’s ideas about how to speed up access to innovative medicines, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients.

George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, set out the challenge – fundamentally to try to shift from a 1940s model of healthcare to one that befits our modern society. He also set out his vision of creating a better innovation pathway to make it easier, quicker and cheaper to innovate and get new products to NHS patients. Helping to future-proof the NHS to improve affordability of innovative treatments and making the UK the best place in the world to develop new products. Reiterating the backing of No.10 for this review, the minister was keen to see some ‘quick wins’, but recognised that real innovation will take longer. He wants to ease pressure on the NHS and to see the UK showing leadership.

Thanking people for taking the time to input, the minister made a plea for some radical thinking – and also made a firm commitment to listen.

The review’s patient champion, Hilary Newiss, Chair of National Voices, was an important presence, ensuring people kept focus on the ultimate aim of real quality of life improvement for all patients – by which she meant everyone. “Ensuring patients are involved and have the information they need in their health care is a crucial aim of the review,” said Hilary.

Attendees’ views were plentiful and diverse, and the Accelerated Access Review team will be analysing it all to support the review’s Chair, Sir Hugh Taylor, as he develops his thinking. Many of those who attended the event form a core group of contributors for the review team, and engagement with them will continue as the review progresses.

There are plenty more chances to get involved. The review team will be hosting further engagement events throughout the summer, and it is also asking umbrella organisations and trade bodies to help it continue to reach a wide audience. Find out how to get involved.