NHS to get £14m to support medical technology research centres

5 Sep 17

The NHS is to gain £14m to support 11 medical technology research centres under the government’s new life sciences strategy.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said these would encourage collaboration between the NHS and industry in developing new medical technologies.

Scientist Sir John Bell developed the strategy for the government, which will put £160m into the sector in all.

Life sciences was named as one of the UK’s five leading sectors with potential for growth in January’s industrial strategy.

Sir John’s findings will be used to work towards a sector deal between government and the global life sciences sector.

He said: “We have created a strategy which capitalises on our strong science base to further build the industry into a globally-unique and internationally competitive life sciences eco-system, supported by collaboration across industry, government, the NHS, academia, and research funders to deliver health and wealth.”

The strategy is organised around five key themes – science, growth, NHS, data and skills.

It recommended the establishment of the Healthcare Advanced Research Programme through which industries, charities and the NHS can collaborate on ambitious long-term projects to take advantage of the medical trends of the next 20 years.

Hunt said: “I want patients to continue to be at the front of the queue for the best treatments available, whether that means early access to trials, giving staff brand new innovations and technology to work with, or being at the heart of research to share best practice quickly across the health and social care system.

“A strong and growing life sciences sector ensures this, particularly as we negotiate our exit from the EU.”

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said that for the strategy to fulfil its potential, “the NHS must be supported, encouraged and resourced to play its part”.

He said NHS bodies should be given an incentive to engage in research by being allowed to retain a share of profits from discoveries and that regulators should support innovation instead of a ‘fear of failure’ culture.

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