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  • Lloyd Price

Association of British HealthTech Industries unveil their Plan for HealthTech manifesto

Exec Summary:

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) unveiled their "Plan for HealthTech" manifesto, outlining a 10-point plan for the UK government to make the nation a global leader in health technology.

The plan emphasises harnessing the potential of the health tech sector to benefit patients, medical professionals, and the UK economy. Key areas of focus include:

  • Regulatory reform: A streamlined regulatory system that fosters innovation

  • Enhancing healthcare practices: Encouraging the adoption of new health technologies

  • Long-term investment: Increased funding for research and development (R&D) and infrastructure

The ABHI believes this plan will position the UK as a world leader in health technology evaluation, development, and deployment. They are currently engaging with policymakers to implement the proposals.

The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI) boasts a history dating back to 1988, formed through the merger of two key organisations:

  • British Healthcare Trades and Industry Council

  • British Healthcare Exports Council

Following this merger, the association's initial focus centered around the development of the Medical Devices Directives (MDD), a crucial set of regulations governing medical devices in the European Union.

Here are some milestones marking ABHI's involvement in the UK's health tech landscape:

  • 2004: ABHI co-authored a report for the Health Insurance Task Force (HITF). This report laid the groundwork for future strategic partnerships between the National Health Service (NHS), the government, and the health tech industry

  • 2005: ABHI submitted a significant contribution to a House of Commons Health Select Committee report, specifically on "Use of new Medical Technologies within the NHS". This demonstrates their early engagement in advocating for the use of new technologies in healthcare.

  • 2007: ABHI co-founded the Ministerial Medical Technology Strategy Group, again aligning with a HITF recommendation. This group aimed to establish a platform for ongoing strategic dialogue with the government.

  • 2008: ABHI published its Code of Business Practice. This code established mandatory high standards for ethical compliance and professional conduct within the health tech industry.

ABHI's history reflects its commitment to shaping the UK's health tech sector. Their focus has evolved from initial involvement with regulations to advocating for collaboration between stakeholders and promoting high ethical standards within the industry.

ABHI has developed a programme for the next Government to achieve these objectives by working in collaboration with the HealthTech ecosystem.

A. To build a world leading regulatory system, the next Government should:


Immediately work with relevant government departments and arm’s length bodies, including the regulator, and patient and clinical groups to:


1. Resource and implement a model of regulation that enhances patient safety, patient access and attracts innovation by:


i.  Recognising the approvals of HealthTech from jurisdictions such as the US and EU.

ii. Developing a swift and effective process for innovation, such as that outlined in the Software as a Medical Device Roadmap.

iii. Shifting the focus of UK regulatory resource towards post-marketing surveillance to support innovation.

iv. Developing innovative approaches to regulation, such as Outcomes Based Cooperative Regulation (OBCR).


B. To professionalise innovation and adoption, the next government should:


Immediately work with NHS England and the operational NHS to:


2. Provide the resource and mechanisms to ensure innovation is managed and measured, in part through the CQC well-led framework, appoint Board level Chief Innovation Officers in all NHS organisations and protect time for innovation within clinical timetables while enabling joint posts to allow NHS clinicians to work in industry.


Within the next five years, work with NHS England and the operational NHS to:


3. Review existing adoption processes to effectively assess value, minimise duplication and unwarranted variation, and move towards a ‘passport’ model across the NHS that will allow proven solutions to be easily disseminated at pace and scale.


4. Build on the UK’s strength in early-stage research and provide equally as effective mechanisms for supporting development and adoption through mechanisms such as the Health Innovation Networks and the NHS AI Lab.


C. Take a longer-term approach to investment in HealthTech, the next government should:


Immediately work with relevant government departments, arm’s length bodies and the NHS to:


5. Overcome the capital backlog in the NHS by reforming the capital departmental expenditure limit (CDEL) for the Department of Health and Social Care, provide a longer term capital outlook to allow for planning and increase the availability of capital, from public and private sources.


6. Bring NHS cash releasing savings targets in line with wider HMG productivity initiatives (from one to five years) to allow for the upfront investment required to implement HealthTech solutions. Within the next five years, work with relevant government departments, arm’s length bodies and the NHS to:


7. Re-prioritise NHS spend devoted to developing a digital enabled system to 5% to meet recommendations made to Government in the Wade Gery review, supporting the development of infrastructure that allows for access to the full depth and diversity of UK health data with a streamlined governance system that preserves privacy and data security, and with commercial terms that are globally competitive.


8. Accelerate the shift required towards early diagnosis through initiatives such as the digitisation of diagnostics services, scaling-up at-home and point-of-care testing, incentivising the development of new service delivery models and widening access to genomic testing.


9. Support UK based HealthTech manufacturing and the UK’s health resilience, through specific long-term HealthTech investment incentives that are accessible to companies of all sizes, alongside bespoke physical infrastructure, including shared clean rooms, manufacturing, and sterilisation facilities.


10. Expand the opportunities available to UK firms and deliver a “HealthTech Export Campaign”, as part of a long-term, appropriately resourced, export strategy for UK companies, focussed on the most receptive and accessible countries and led by in-market specific HealthTech champions.

To enable the Plan to deliver, the HealthTech industry will maintain its drive for innovation to ensure the best possible technologies are offered to UK patients, while being a major driver for productivity in the health and care system, and growth in the UK economy.

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