Thousands of patients to benefit from innovative new treatments on the NHS

Stroke-reducing heart implants and a life changing surgical procedure for children with cerebral palsy are among a host of new treatments that will now be routinely available for thousands of patients on the NHS.

The NHS announced its plan to provide the latest innovative treatments for patients, just days after it celebrated its 70th anniversary.

Hundreds of patients each year will benefit from a procedure called left atrial appendage occlusion, which reduces the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), who cannot take blood thinning medication.

It is expected that around 400 patients will be treated in year one, building to more than 1,000 patients treated each year by year five.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a complex procedure aimed at relieving tight and stiff muscles for cerebral palsy sufferers, particularly in children, which can cause movement and balance problems. The treatment can allow children who were previously unable to walk to become mobile and independent.

It involves operating on the nerves in the spine and has the potential to offer affected children improved mobility. The procedure will now be available immediately in named hospitals across England.

Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director for NHS England, said: “This is fantastic news for patients and their families. The new treatments that will be available on the NHS are the kind of innovations that the National Health Service has been delivering for the last 70 years and will continue to do so in the years to come.”

Another new introduction will be a surgical procedure to relieve the intense pain of chronic pancreatitis, a condition that causes long-standing inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is removed but some of its hormone producing cells, known as islets, are then transplanted into the patient’s liver where they continue to produce the insulin needed to help control blood sugar. The procedure can dramatically improve the patient’s quality of life and will also alleviate pressure on local commissioning budgets and services through helping with long-term pain management.

Patients with haemophilia will also benefit, with two new cutting edge treatments to be introduced.  Emicizumab works in a new way to other treatments for bleeding disorders and represents a major breakthrough in treatment for this medical field.  Also available on the NHS will be susoctocog alfa for acquired haemophilia A, a new lifesaving treatment which is proved to be highly effective in acute circumstances – such as on the operating table – when other drugs have not worked.

Other treatments now funded include three cancer treatments, a new treatment for osteoporosis in men and a new treatment to restore sight.

The move is the result of NHS England’s latest specialised commissioning prioritisation process. All the proposed new treatments were independently assessed for their clinical benefit and cost by the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group (CPAG) made up of doctors, health experts and patient representatives.

The new treatments join a wealth of innovative treatments already available on the NHS, including kidney dialysis and revolutionary new treatments like ‘tooth in eye’ surgery which restores vision to blind patients by using part of the patient’s own tooth root.

Specialised commissioning prioritisation results – June 2018

Treatments are grouped into five levels of priority, with those that cost less and offer more clinical benefit for patients relative to the other treatments being considered classified as level one, and treatments with the lowest relative clinical benefit and highest cost placed in the lowest category (level five).

There is sufficient funding available in this round to approve treatments in levels one to three.  The remaining three treatments can be considered in the next prioritisation round in November 2018 and if successful could be funded in the 2019/20 financial year.

Level 1:

Level 2:

Level 3:

Level 4:

Level 5:

In year service developments

In addition, the following treatments and services will also be routinely commissioned with immediate effect:

These treatments and services did not go through the relative prioritisation process as they either had a very low overall budget impact or were cost neutral or cost saving.

For more information on the prioritisation process and how we make decisions about which new treatments to fund, please watch our video: Making decisions about which new treatments to fund.