Accelerated Access Review
In March 2015, the Government commissioned the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) to make independent recommendations on how to improve NHS patients’ access to innovative medicines and medical technologies. In October 2015, the AAR, chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, published an interim report. It set out 5 propositions to speed up access to health technologies that can change NHS patients’ lives.
Due to political sensitivities during the Brexit campaign, the final AAR report was delayed until October 2016. Following the referendum, the report started looking at the future from the perspective of a UK outside the EU.
It suggested that the life sciences industry will be crucial to economic growth, and looked forward to the creation of a targeted industrial strategy.
The report is therefore the “first essential step” in building a capability in life sciences that leads to strong economic performance. It makes it clear that the NHS is a crucial asset in delivering this.
NHS England was quick to welcome the practical proposals it committed to supporting implementation to improve alignment between the various stages: regulatory approvals, NICE HTA assessment, NHS England commissioning/reimbursement, and local innovation diffusion processes.
The final report’s recommendations were strongly aligned to those in the interim report:
- Implement an enhanced horizon-scanning process, incorporating NHS requirements. Horizon-scanning would help identify innovations with the potential for greatest impact and allow them to be given a new “transformative designation”.
- Create an Accelerated Access Pathway, for strategically important, transformative products: medical technologies, diagnostics and digital products as well as medicines. This would be supported by a new strategic commercial unit within NHS England.
- A single set of clear, consistent and streamlined national, regional and local routes to get medical technologies, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and digital products to patients.
- The digital infrastructure should enable the system to capture information on the use of innovations and associated outcomes.
- The uptake and spread of innovation should be supported by a range of incentives, increased accountability and transparency. AHSNs, teaching hospitals and clinical leaders across the NHS should drive and support the evaluation and diffusion of innovative products.
- An Accelerated Access Partnership should be created, comprising key national bodies. It would align them around accelerating innovation and leading on implementing the AAR’s recommendations
Due to the recent green paper on UK industrial strategy (January 2017) and forthcoming Life Science Strategy (due August 2017), the Government’s response to the AAR is now is expected in Spring 2017, and will take account of these policy developments.
ABHI have been deeply involved, through workshops and bilateral talks. Ahead of publication, we are involved in early-stage planning and implementation of projects initiated by the review, including Horizon scanning, Innovation Exchanges and the Innovation Tariff. We look forward to the Government response and engaging in implementing the final recommendations.