On 3 November 2017 the AHSN Network warmly welcomed the Government’s announcement of a new accelerated access scheme for “breakthrough” medicines and technologies. 

Due to be introduced in April 2018, the Accelerated Access Pathway should significantly speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from innovative new products for conditions such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.
Professor Mike Hannay, Chair of the AHSN Network, said:
“The launch of the new Accelerated Access Pathway is excellent news, as we believe it will play an important role in bringing the recommendations from the Accelerated Access Review (AAR) to life.
The creation of a fast-track route into the health service for proven innovations is very much needed, and will perfectly complement the great strides already being made by the 15 Academic Health Science Networks around the country to spread innovation at pace and scale.
This includes our SBRI Healthcare programme, which in the last five years has awarded 224 contracts totalling £73 million in funding to UK companies who are developing exciting new healthcare solutions that tackle identified clinical needs. Our successful NHS Innovation Accelerator is also working with healthcare entrepreneurs, and to date has helped introduce 26 innovations to over 900 NHS providers and purchasers.
We look forward to supporting the Accelerated Access Collaborative, in particular through our role in coordinating the new network of Innovation Exchanges.”
Through the Accelerated Access Pathway selected products with the greatest potential to change lives could be available up to four years earlier by reducing the time taken to negotiate the evaluation and financial approvals necessary before the NHS can purchase them.
Under the scheme, each year a number of products would receive “breakthrough” designation, unlocking a package of support to allow firms to accelerate clinical development and benefit from a fast-track route through the NHS’s approval processes.
The Accelerated Access Pathway follows on from the £86 million funding package announced earlier in the year to help innovators of all sizes access the NHS market, with a central role for Academic Health Science Networks.
This package includes:
  • £39m to encourage grassroots adoption and uptake of new medical technologies, driven by the 15 Academic Health Science Networks through Innovation Exchanges, which will assess the benefits of new technologies and support NHS uptake of those that deliver real benefits to patients in line with local needs.
  • Increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises to help them build a stronger evidence base for their products, with £35 million over four years to help SMEs with digital products, and a £6 million scheme to support medtech, diagnostics and pharmaceutical products.
  • £6 million to support clinicians to use new treatments and technologies in everyday practice.

For more information on the Accelerated Access Pathway visit the Department of Health website.