Written evidence submitted by Association of British HealthTech Industries (CBP0030)

About ABHI and Reasons for Submitting

 

  1. The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) is the leading health technology (HealthTech) industry association in the UK. We are a community of over 300 members, from small UK businesses to large multi-national companies. We champion the use of safe and effective medical devices, diagnostics and digital health technologies. The work of our members improves the health of the nation and the efficiency of the NHS.

 

  1. The HealthTech industry makes a vital contribution to economic growth in our country. The industry employs over 127,400 people across 3,860 companies, mostly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Many companies are working closely with universities and research institutions. The industry is generating a turnover of over £24 billion and has achieved employment growth of greater than 5% in recent years. ABHI’s members account for approximately 80% of the value of the sector as measured by sales to the NHS. As the most highly regarded universal healthcare system in the world, the NHS in turn is dependent on technology produced by the industry to enhance the efficiency of services and drive continuous improvement in their delivery. The NHS has grown and developed partly on the basis of the UK’s historic ‘can do’ approach to engineering and problem solving.

 

  1. HealthTech is accordingly an engineering-based industry, characterised by rapid, often iterative product design and development, and a large number of SMEs. It is one of two distinct subsectors of the broader Life Sciences. Future growth and success will mean the HealthTech sector being recognised in its own right. The sector has evidence, regulatory and adoption needs that differ significantly from those of the other, biopharmaceuticals.

 

  1. We recognise that the NHS is facing a significant challenge in addressing the backlog of cases that has built up over the course of the pandemic, as well as the need to balance addressing this backlog whilst dealing with new presentations into the system.

 

  1. Already systems have been put in place to prioritise diagnosis and treatments and we will leave comment in this area to the relevant clinical representative bodies. The HealthTech industry has always worked closely with front line services and clinicians in development and deployment of new technologies to improve patient care, outcomes and system efficiency. We believe that this collaborative approach is needed now more than ever,

 

  1. However, there are three areas where we believe that technology has a key role to play

 

  1. Improving the efficiency of acute service delivery through the High Volume Low Complexity (HVLC) programme from the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) proposals that have been put forward for development of fast -track, standardised pathways for six high-volume specialties. Technology and industry can play an important supporting role in this initiative through technical support for complex interventions, theatre workflow redesign and stock management and new tools & techniques to improve capacity usage.

 

  1. It will be important that the NHS generally, but the proposed surgical hubs In particular, work closely with industry to provide transparency, by category, for demand forecasting to ensure a resilient supply chain.

 

  1. Support Out of Hospital Care - To support both primary and acute care it will be important to manage patients in the most appropriate location. This will ease pressure on primary care to focus on identification and prioritisation of patient cohorts and enable acute care to free up clinic and bed space through admissions management and earlier discharge. The technology to support this has already been established during the pandemic, including, establishing remote pathways and care services, population management analytics and digital and point of care diagnostics.

 

  1. To enable ethe service to develop these further it is vital to ensure the necessary funding for infrastructure is made available as well as the reimbursement mechanisms to enable ICSs to run digital services.

 

  1. We are also disappointed by the frankly unambitious target of 25% for non face to face out patient appointments in the latest NHS planning guidance when remote technologies can prevent a significant number of unnecessary admissions.

 

 

Sept 2021