Medtech is a large and diverse industry that plays a significant role in both the UK economy and the UK health and care system. It has largely operated without significant central intervention and approaches to date have been driven by need rather than through a planned strategic approach.
Action on these priority areas will support delivery of the strategy’s vision for the right product, at the right price, and in the right place, and, the continued delivery of high-quality care, outstanding patient safety and excellent patient outcomes in a way that makes best use of taxpayer money.
The UK’s inaugural medical technology (medtech) strategy sets out how we will ensure the health and social care system can reliably access safe, effective, and innovative medical technologies. The strategy builds on and supports the Life Sciences Vision to help secure the position of the UK as a global science superpower.
The strategic priorities have been developed in conjunction with partners across industry, government, and the health and care system to identify the priority areas:
- ensuring resilience and continuity of supply of medtech products
- supporting innovation and encouraging thriving, dynamic markets
- developing enabling infrastructure
- specific focuses on key issues and markets
Medtech products and markets have developed rapidly, and together with the changes brought about by the UK leaving the EU and lessons we have learnt from COVID-19 we need to act now to ensure that the sector is sustainable for the future, and that our resources are focused.
where they will improve the overall health of the nation.
We will do this by making sure the health and social care system can reliably access safe, effective, and innovative medical technologies that support the continued delivery of high-quality care and excellent patient outcomes in a way that makes the best use of taxpayer money, delivered by our vision of right product, right price, right place.
Recognising the work that is already underway within the sector, we see four key priority areas for fresh national focus:
- resilience and continuity of supply
- innovative and dynamic markets
- enabling infrastructure
- specific market focuses
This strategy sets our vision for medtech, and the central strategic elements where we expect to see different and increased focus over the next five-to-ten years. In developing these plans, we will be sure to consider several factors that will be critical to success:
- a joined-up approach to the strategy: we need to consider the strategy as a whole and be aware of how the different elements and priorities interact. We cannot work in silos.
- clear, meaningful metrics: we must set clear targets that directly align to the core priorities of the strategy and have a robust way to measure progress.
- strong collaboration: we will set out a framework for industry collaboration and use this to develop detailed implementation plans for each workstream. At all times we will make sure we seek continual engagement and feedback from all our stakeholders including the best way to engage patient groups.
- supported and empowered leadership: we must ensure that senior leadership across the sector is fully committed to the vision, and that we provide them with support they need to embed engagement throughout their organisations.
- implementation capacity: many of the transformations we want to achieve are significant, both in terms of ambition and timescale. We must ensure that we support the change process with the right resources and skills.
- ambitious but realistic timelines: the vision set out here is a long-term goal that we will need to work towards in stages. We must consider how to divide this into milestones without losing the momentum that is already in place.
- We are committed to realising the benefits that advances in medtech can bring, both to the individual patient, and to the UK economy. We call on our colleagues across industry and the UK health and social care system to share our ambition and work with us to create lasting positive change. We will continue to engage collaboratively with all stakeholders and consult on proposed changes ahead of delivery and implementation.
The medtech strategy will deliver the following actions:
The Medtech Directorate will set up the appropriate governance structures to achieve the aims set out in the strategy. The DHSC Director for Medtech will oversee the governance, implementation, and ongoing activities in the sector we will work with stakeholders to develop an implementation plan. The implementation plan for the strategy will aim to achieve the following:
Priority one: resilience and continuity of supply
- medtech suppliers proactively adopt effective contingency measures to ensure continuity of supply and engage early to resolve emerging problems
- a broad medtech sector located and led from the UK that excels at all stages of product life cycle, from R&D, design, production, maintenance, repair and remanufacture
- medtech systems are interoperable by default, making exceptions only where there is clear evidence of overwhelming benefits for patient outcomes and safety
- medtech systems support reuse, remanufacturing and materials recovery by default, reducing reliance on vulnerable sources of raw materials and the exposure this brings to price volatility and hostile acts
Priority two: innovative and dynamic markets
- for every product type we have a clear, recognised clinical voice articulating practitioners’ needs for medtech
- we have granular clarity of the NHS’s priorities for innovation which are reflected in systems and processes
- we have a clear, readily accessible, and clinically driven national view of the relative qualities of the products available
- conversations have moved away from general terms of ‘innovation’ to use more specific and meaningful language
- a clear pathway from pre-registration through to commercial adoption which enables rapid progression for priority, innovative products
Priority three: enabling infrastructure
- we have extensive coverage of Medtech data from products being put on the market to their specific use.
- the data captured has the necessary granularity and frequency for the risk it is trying to mitigate; we have clear, readily accessible, consistent, and a trusted view of medtech data.
- Products are easily identifiable across datasets with minimal effort and medtech datasets can be linked and used for a range of purposes, not just what they were originally gathered for the NHS and industry work as trusted partners with consistent mechanisms to communicate NHS demand, support clinical leadership in industry engagement, encouraging innovation in clinical areas of greatest need, planning how innovations will be procured by the NHS to deliver patients the right products, at the right price and in the right place
Priority four: specific market focuses
- as well as a significant choice of product, clinicians and patients have access to unbiased resources to help them compare and select the most appropriate product
- the processes for entry, maintenance and exit from Part IX are modernised to reflect our modern digital environment and speed of innovative product development
- there is convergence towards good practice operating models
- there is ready access to diagnostic testing, regardless of location, enabling earlier interventions and the improved patient outcomes associated with this
- there are fast, accurate, widespread and personalised diagnostics undertaken close to the patient through CDCs and at the point of care
The UK is a thriving global hub of diagnostics innovation and advancement, supporting improved and more affordable healthcare here in the UK and abroad we have a health system that can scale up diagnostic testing and genome sequencing in step with the rapid and effective response to infectious disease threats and pandemics.