This conference focused on the future for diagnostics and medical devices in England, looking at developments and next steps for strategy and regulation.
The discussion took place in the context of the upcoming MedTech strategy from DHSC, and was an opportunity to examine key plans for improving flexibility and transparency in MedTech supply and procurement, securing value for money, and supporting the adoption of innovation in healthcare settings.
Delegates discussed implementation of the update to MHRA regulations for medical devices, as well as priorities for safety and assessment, and contribution to better patient outcomes.
Further sessions looked at next steps for developing the role of medical devices and diagnostics in delivering efficiencies and addressing NHS backlogs, including earlier detection of disease, setting targets, and improving patient pathways - as well as the future for community diagnostic centres.
Overall, areas for discussion included:
- regulation and evaluation:
- transition to new medical device regulations - the updated evaluation process - key issues for implementation
- proportionate regulation - support for businesses - addressing capacity constraints in authorisation of Approved Bodies
- patient access: establishing new device frameworks - supporting adoption of innovative medical technology - improving patient access to devices currently on the market
- the supply chain:
- flexibility, transparency and responsiveness in the procurement and supply of medical technology
- collaboration between healthcare providers and suppliers - engaging healthcare professionals in procurement
- supporting the NHS:
- workforce efficiency - earlier diagnosis - innovation in diagnostic pathways - addressing backlogs and waiting times - improving patient outcomes and the speed of recovery
- the role of the new community diagnostic centres - encouraging adoption of new diagnostic methods across the NHS
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with David Lawson, Director of MedTech directorate, Department of Health and Social Care; Doris-Ann Williams, Chief Executive, British In Vitro Diagnostic Association; Dr Penny Wilson, Deputy Director of Innovative Devices, MHRA; Sarah Byron, Programme Director for Devices, Diagnostics and Digital, NICE; and Jonathan Gardner, Director of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Whittington Health NHS Trust; and SRO, North Central London CDCs. There were also further contributions from Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE, Patient Safety Commissioner; Nishan Sunthares, Managing Director of Diagnostics, ABHI; and Jeevan Gunaratnam, Chairman, AXREM.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the DBT; DESNZ; DHSC; Department of Health, Ireland; GLD; MHRA; OLS; UKHSA; the Welsh Government; and The Scottish Government - as well as a parliamentary pass-holder from the House of Commons.