NHS Confederation, ABPI report focuses on industry collaboration

Warrington, United Kingdom - March 6, 2016: Warrington, UK - march 6, 2016: View of the NHS (National Health Service)  logo at the Springfields Medical Centre in the centre of Warrington, Cheshire.

According to a joint report published today from the NHS Confederation and ABPI, collaborative work between the NHS and industry can offer a chance to improve patient care and reduce variations in uptake of innovative treatments across the UK.

The report – ‘Transforming Lives, Improving Health Outcomes: Tackling the True Cost of Variation in Uptake of Innovative Medicines’ – demonstrates the importance of collaboration between industry and the NHS, with a shared goal of improving patient outcomes across the UK. It includes analysis that shows a significant variation in patient access to innovative medicines across the country, with uptakes of new treatments below the average of similar European countries.

Innovative medicines are novel medical treatments that can have the ability to transform individual patient lives. Evaluated for their safety and efficacy by the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, they are then assessed by the relevant national body to decide their cost effectiveness and how best to deploy them within the NHS.

Unfortunately, approval does not always translate into uptake and availability for patients. Local health and care systems face various structural and operational barriers, and workforce constraints within the NHS result in lack of adoption of new solutions. Millions of patients miss out on proven treatments that would significantly improve health outcomes.

Highlighting four initiatives where effective partnerships between the NHS, patient organisations, and industry have helped tackle the unwarranted variation in uptake, the report evidences where the NHS has been able to have time in hospital for patients with certain cancers, freeing up clinical time to reduce the backlog of care. Referrals for treatment for people with lung cancer from some of the most deprived areas, for instance, have improved, and diabetes patient waiting times have reduced.

The report calls for a system-wide secondary prevention strategy that covers all parts of the health system that are creating a barrier to wider and consistent uptake of innovative medicine. Recommendations informed by health leaders from across the health system are also included in the report, suggesting further ways of improving access to innovative medicines and health outcomes for NHS patients on regional and national levels.

The newly created Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), the report further notes, have the potential to improve preventative treatment.

Matthew Taylor, NHS Confederation chief executive, said: “Improving access to innovative medicines is not only beneficial for the individual patients receiving them, but also for the wider health and care system.”

Richard Torbett, ABPI chief executive, commented: “Everyone in the health system wants to see improved access to care. By implementing the ideas in this report […] we can make real and rapid improvements that will relieve the pressures on the NHS.”

Case studies within the report include addressing regional variation in CAR-T patient treatment, halving time in hospital for patients with soft tissue sarcoma, the ‘Do it For Yourself’ campaign to improve lung cancer care access, and optimisation of the cardiometabolic pathway.

In December 2022, the NHS Innovation and Life Sciences Commission report was launched, discussing similar issues to the NHS Confederation and ABPI’s report.