NHS chief agrees new budget to 'streamline' getting 'medtech' to patients


The head of NHS England has pledged to get technology into the hands of patients and doctors more quickly.

Simon Stevens has agreed a new budget to make the use of medical technology - "medtech" - more widespread in a bid to speed up treatment and enable people to stay out of hospital.

He wants to see greater use of new medtech devices and apps for patients with diabetes, heart problems, asthma, sleep disorders and other chronic health conditions. Other health areas may benefit from technology such as infertility, pregnancy, weight loss and mental health.

In a speech to NHS leaders at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester, Mr Stevens will say: "The NHS has a proud track record of world firsts in medical innovation - think hip replacements, IVF, vaccinations and organ transplants to name just a few.

"But then getting wide uptake has often been slow and frustrating.

"Now - at a time when the NHS is under pressure - rather than just running harder to stand still, it's time to grab with both hands these practical new treatments and technologies.

"In the rest of our lives we're seeing the difference that innovative tech makes, and now the NHS will have a streamlined way of getting ground-breaking and practical new technologies into the hands of patients and our frontline nurses, doctors and other staff. By doing that, we can transform people's lives."

A new funding model will mean automatic payments are set up, while NHS England will be able to negotiate national bulk buy discounts on behalf of hospitals, GPs and patients.

Examples of apps include MyCOPD, which offers people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) advice on how to use their medication properly and exercises designed to improve lung function.

Another medtech device is the AliveCor mobile heart monitor which instantly records electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, enabling users to track and manage abnormal heart rhythms.