23 March 2023

UK Government announces new strategy to boost NHS access to medtech

The Department of Health and Social Care recently published a Medical Technology Strategy report which outlines how the UK health and social care system can access innovative medical technologies, so called ‘medtech’, to deliver high-quality care.

The strategy provides a framework in which the NHS is to develop and select medtech products. The aim is to provide continuity in the medtech supply chain to ensure innovative products reach patients quickly and to develop an infrastructure to enable this.

The report also highlights the importance of medtech, to the UK healthcare system, with the NHS alone spending an estimated £10 billion per year on medtech as well as the industry itself accounting for 31% of all turnover in the UK life sciences sector. The medtech sector is broad, varied and competitive with just under two million products registered for use on the UK market and over 4,000 UK medtech businesses in the UK. 

The report also emphasises the important role that patent protection plays with medtech patents making up 1 in 12 patent applications from the UK to the European Patent Office. As a practical commercial matter, due to product development and regulatory approval requiring significant time and investment, patent and design protection in this sector offers a major strategic benefit. Companies in this industry value their IP rights very highly and as a result are prepared to invest to defend them. The latest strategy highlights government’s understanding of the importance of the future of medtech, as well as the trust in innovation and IP protection required.

The recent spring budget also provided positive news for UK medtech companies with an announcement of a new R&D tax credit scheme for SMEs and a commitment from the UK Government to support the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to provide simple, rapid approvals for medicines and technologies.

For more information on how best to protect your medical technology, please contact our medical devices team.