Innovation pathway for NHS products

This guide gives an overview of the innovation pathway for products to be used by the NHS.



This draft document provides guidance for the entire innovation pathway from product idea to adoption and uptake by the NHS for the following product types:

  • pharmaceuticals
  • medical devices and diagnostics
  • digital health

For each stage of the pathway, it also includes a checklist of what to consider and details of the main organisations and contacts.

This draft guide has been designed for innovators and the life sciences and health tech industry and is particularly aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Accelerated Access Review (AAR), which aims to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients, found that SMEs can find it difficult to navigate the innovation pathway. The Review’s interim report proposed the idea of ‘how to’ guides that help SMEs and make the process clearer for all.

It has been developed in consultation with stakeholders, including SMEs. This edition is a first draft and the review team are gathering feedback on what improvements can be made to inform a revised version to be published later this year. Please send any comments to

The guide will be updated to reflect any changes once the AAR’s final report has been published and implementation agreed.

Published 25 May 2016