BIA polling signals that leadership, alignment and buy-in key to deliver accelerated access in the UK 

              

Responding to a House of Lords inquiry on life sciences and the industrial strategy, the BioIndustry Association has published new data which reveals that the majority of health care professionals are not aware of the Accelerated Access Review or previous government-led initiatives aimed at improving the adoption of innovation across the NHS.                       

Polling of NHS staff, commissioned by the BIA in March 2017, reveals that:                       

Only 11% of health care professionals are aware of the Accelerated Access Review, a government commissioned report which makes recommendations for speeding up patient access to innovative treatments.

• Many of the report’s recommendations build upon initiatives introduced by a previous government report, Innovation Health and Wealth: Accelerating adoption and diffusion in the NHS. These initiatives include Academic Health Science Networks, the Innovation Scorecard and NHS Test Beds. However, when asked about these initiatives, almost half (46%) of those surveyed said they were not aware of any of them.

• The data also shows that only 20% of NHS staff are aware of the Early Access to Medicines Scheme, which was introduced in the 2011 Life Sciences Strategy. The scheme gives patients with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions early access to medicines when there is a clear unmet medical need.                       

In the lead up to the snap general election earlier this year, the BIA published Now More Than Ever: Seizing the opportunity to make the UK a world leader in the life sciences, calling on the political parties to commit to implementing the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review in their manifestos. The report finds that despite the efforts of successive governments to support the UK life science sector and encourage uptake of innovation, policies have not been fully implemented or led to lasting change.                      

Commenting on the data, BIA CEO, Steve Bates OBE, said:         

“The UK has been great at talking the talk on driving innovation into the NHS but now is the time to walk the walk. This data highlights what many of us in the life sciences sector have long suspected – that great policy is meaningless without effective implementation. The forthcoming response to the Accelerated Access Review is a great opportunity for government, hot on the heels of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and in the context of the UK leaving the EU, to set out its stall on how it will work to drive innovation into the heart of our healthcare system.”                       

Ends                  

Notes to editors                       

Contact: Ed Sexton, Communications and Media Relations Manager: esexton@bioindustry.org 0207 630 2196          

The BIA published this polling data as part of its response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry into life sciences and the industrial strategy. The BIA’s full response will be available when published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee.             

The BIA commissioned Dods Research to poll NHS workers on the adoption of innovative practices in the NHS. Field work was carried out during March 2017 utilising the online survey                          

A summary of the data is as follows:                              

The NHS as an adopter of innovation                     

• In a survey of NHS staff, 81% of respondents rated the NHS as an average or better than average adopter of innovation compared to alternative health care systems in economically comparable countries. However, data published by the Office for Life Sciences earlier this year shows that this is not the case. For NICE-approved medicines launched between 2011 and 2015 the UK rate of uptake in the first 12 months after launch was 18.2% of the median usage in comparable countries, according to the Office for Life Sciences (April 2017) Life Science Competitiveness Indicators. This suggests that the NHS is in fact well below average when it comes to adopting innovative new treatments compared to healthcare systems in other economically-developed countries.                

NHS staff awareness of government-led strategies                       

• In a survey of NHS staff, 82% of respondents were not aware of either Innovation, Health and Wealth or the Accelerated Access Review, two government-led reports aimed at improving the uptake of innovation across the NHS.

• Only 12% of respondents were aware of Innovation Health and Wealth, published in 2011

• Only 11% of respondents were aware of the Accelerated Access Review, which was commissioned by the government in 2014 to recommend ways to speed up access to innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics for NHS patients.

• Innovation Health and Wealth and the Accelerated Access Review recommend a range of initiatives aimed at improving the adoption of innovation across the NHS but almost half (46%) of all survey respondents said they were not aware of any of them.

• One output of Innovation, Health and Wealth is the Innovation Scorecard, which monitors variation in the uptake of NICE approved medicines in the NHS and is published on a quarterly basis yet only 5% of all respondents were aware of the Innovation Scorecard. Even at a Chief Executive and Board level awareness of the initiative was only 11%.

• The Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) aims to give patients with life threatening or seriously debilitating conditions access to medicines that do not yet have a marketing authorisation when there is a clear unmet medical need. Only 20% of all respondents were aware of the scheme. Clinicians need to be aware of EAMS, and the medicines available via the scheme, to be able to recommend EAMS medicines to their patients, who may have no alternative treatment options.

• The Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) is an annual awards scheme which provides resources to support and promote the adoption and spread of innovation across the NHS. The fund aims to change the culture of the NHS to one that embraces innovation by encouraging health care professionals to partner with industry and third sector organisations. All organisations across the NHS are welcome to apply for the fund but application must be clinician-led. However, polling commissioned by the BIA reveals that only 11% of clinicians are aware of the fund.   

About the BIA

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.

For further information, please go to www.bioindustry.org and twitter.com/BIA_UK

More within