Authored article

Speeding up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics

Sir Hugh Taylor writes on the work of the Accelerated Access Review to improve access to innovative healthcare for NHS patients.

Picture of Sir Hugh Taylor

It is a great privilege to chair the Accelerated Access Review. The central promise of the NHS is that it will be there for us when we need it. So finding new ways to get drugs, devices and diagnostics to patients faster is a very worthwhile task.

Many benefits will flow from progress in this area:

  • better treatment and health outcomes for patients
  • more cost-effective and affordable ways for the NHS to treat patients
  • a more central role for research organisations and charities

This will also provide opportunities for business by getting their produces to patients quicker, and a major boost for our economy and the country if we can become a world-leader in designing, developing and using innovative products.

I am being given a huge amount of support. The Wellcome Trust is kindly backing the review.

Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, is leading an External Advisory Group to support the review as we develop our recommendations. His team includes experts from the pharma and medtech industries, small business founders, world-leading clinicians and researchers, patient champions, investors and others with huge international experience.

Harnessing the insights, ideas, expertise and potential solutions from the many organisations and individuals across the NHS, patient groups, academia, pharma and elsewhere will be central to the success of this review.

Already many organisations and individuals have contributed to early thinking. I held an event in March which brought together stakeholders with wide interests and expertise to help me to shape the big issues the review needs to tackle. It also made clear to me the ambition for change we all share.

As Chairman of the Trust at Guy’s and St Thomas’, I see every day the impact that cutting edge medicines and technologies have on patients, on the wards and at our academic health science centre. But 21st century healthcare can only be delivered by a 21st century system.

Our challenge is eminently achievable, but it is not easy. We need to find a way of delivering modern, first-class healthcare in a practical, affordable and sustainable way.

We have identified 3 main areas in which we believe there is significant potential for reform: regulation, reimbursement and uptake.

No-one will lose out if we get this right. Patients are not alone in wanting access to the best healthcare – providers want access to that too. My team and I are determined to produce a series of recommendations for ministers that can make innovative healthcare swifter, better and more widely available.

Published 4 June 2015