NHS organisations must follow recommendations in NICE Technology Appraisals and for some time have had a contractual requirement to take into account other types of NICE guidance, including NICE Medical Technologies Guidance and NICE Diagnostics Guidance.
The NHS Long Term Plan committed to going further by introducing a MedTech Funding Mandate, to support getting innovative medical devices, diagnostics and digital products to patients faster.
In 2019/20 we consulted on the introduction of this with patient representatives, NHS providers, commissioners, charities, academics, delivery partners, consultants, independent health providers and industry. The Medtech Funding Mandate policy received strong support with clear recommendations on the criteria for inclusion technologies.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic meant the 2020/21 NHS Standard Contract and the 2020/21 National Tariff Payment System were suspended. As the Medtech Funding Mandate is supported by these documents we delayed the launch.
The MedTech Funding Mandate policy and the consultation outcome report will be published this winter to support CCG and providers to plan for its launch in April 2021 by confirming the final criteria, the technologies that it will cover and additional implementation support. The existing funding direction for technologies with a positive NICE Technology Appraisal will remain unaffected by this new policy.
Once we launch the policy, the AAC team will regularly review NICE guidance on medical technologies and diagnostics to identify medical devices, diagnostics and digital products which have been recommended by NICE and are likely to meet the MedTech Funding Mandate criteria in the following year.
We will highlight these technologies at least twice a year, working with the suppliers of these technologies to support their inclusion. We will also work with patients and our delivery partners, the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to support NHS organisations to implement these innovations, to understand local and regional issues and to share learning from NHS organisations who have already implemented the innovations. This will help identify barriers to their uptake, such as duplicative procurement processes.
All the recommended innovations are effective and cost-saving, so this policy will both improve patient care and save the NHS money. We expect hospitals and commissioning organisations to comply with the policy guidance where appropriate. We will ask our AHSN delivery partners to work closely with commissioners, providers, clinicians, patient groups and others, to understand the impact of the policy and support its development.