Government funding is set to speed up access to new medicine and technology by supporting businesses to test and develop their innovations.
An £86 million fund for investment in innovative healthcare technology has been announced by the government, including the launch of a new Digital Health Catalyst, and to develop medical breakthroughs.
The funding will be split into different packages. Over the next three years, £6million of funds will allow small and medium size enterprises to develop and trial new technologies within the NHS, including creations such as digital technologies which could help patients manage their conditions from home instead of hospital, or to develop new medicines.
Business will be able to bid for funding to aid their developments which could include digital technologies or new medicines.
Across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and south Cumbria, the Innovation Agency will be responsible for assessing the benefits of new technologies and to help support NHS uptake of advancements that deliver real benefits to patients.
Access to funding will also speed up the amount of time it takes to get new technologies from the lab to patients in the NHS.
A large amount of the funding will be invested into digital healthcare. The government has given a budget of £35million for a digital health technology catalyst intended to support organisations within the industry develop digital technologies for patients on the NHS.
In the past, technologies that have previously received support are already benefitting patients. An example, ‘MyCOPD’ is an online system helping people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) better manage their condition. So far, it has helped 32,000 patients by helping them improve their breathing, manage flare-ups and track their medicine use.
Other areas that the funding is divided to include, £39 million dedicated to the Academic Health Science Networks, enabling them to access the benefits of new technologies and support NHS use of those that deliver real benefits to patients according to the local need. £6 million will go to a Pathway Transformation Fund, which will help NHS organisation integrate new technologies into everyday practices, helping to overcome more practical obstacles such as training staff to use new equipment.
Business Minister Lord Prior said: “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. Our Industrial Strategy will boost our status a global hub for life sciences.”