A £86 million fund for investment in innovative healthcare technology has been announced by the government – it will include the launch of a new Digital Health Catalyst.
Unveiled last week, the multi-million pound fund will support small and medium sized enterprises to develop, test and integrate new technologies in the NHS.
The money is provided jointly by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Health.
There will be a £35 million digital health technology catalyst for innovators that will be used to match fund health technology.
Ben Moody, head of health and social care at techUK, said in a statement that this catalyst will be “a great boost for innovators in the sector”.
A £6 million pathway transformation fund has also been created, which will help NHS organisations integrate new technologies into everyday practices.
The announcement is in response to the Accelerated Access Review, an independently chaired review which was released in October 2016.
The review recommended a shake-up of how innovative health and social care products are picked up and of how the sector interacts with industry, and advised a “route for digital products should build on the Paperless 2020 simplified app assessment process”.
The report also urges greater collaboration between NHS organisations, suppliers and patients during the development of products.
“The historical model where innovators simply throw new products at health care systems and allow them to layer these onto existing pathways is no longer viable,” it says.
The largest portion of money goes to the Academic Health Science Networks, with £39 million awarded to locally assess the benefits of new technologies.
Health minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, said in a statement, “the government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible”.
“That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – like speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs.”
The remaining £6 million has been assigned to SMEs to assist with innovative medicines and devices get the evidence they need by testing in the real world.
“The announcement also recognises that the resources needed to generate evidence to show that a technology is worth reimbursing can be prohibitively difficult for SMEs – so the fund to support evidence generation for innovative devices is particularly welcome.
The Digital Health Catalyst money is coming from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, a £197 million funding round announced in April by BEIS secretary of state, Greg Clark.
There will be £21 million over three years from other areas of the same fund, which are subject to business care approval.
The Department of Health is providing £30 million over three years from existing budgets.
The business minister, Lord Prior, said in a statement that “the government has an important role to play in driving innovation that will increase economic growth and support businesses across the country.”
“Through this funding we will quicken the pace of scientific discovery and innovation in the UK.”