A manifesto launched by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is calling on the UK Government for greater collaboration with industry after 84% of BHTA members said the government doesn’t understand their struggles.
Launched at a parliamentary reception on 21 November, the manifesto calls on the government to rework the regulatory frameworks to ensure that bodies such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) can acquire and import the medical devices it needs free from the complications of regulatory pressures such as Brexit.
Within the manifesto, the BHTA is also calling on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to urgently build ‘organisational and systemic resources to ensure safe and effective UK medical device regulation’ as 95% of members say they want greater regulation.
BHTA chief executive David Stockdale said: “The launch of this manifesto comes at a critical time for the health tech industry. Medical suppliers have never faced such acute financial and regulatory pressures and the direction of travel the government chooses now is vital to ensuring patients continue to access the medical products they need and face no delays in accessing new products and treatments in future.
“Fundamentally, we are asking for the government to draw on industry knowledge and expertise and to collaborate with industry to shape a future healthcare landscape that delivers high quality for patients, fosters innovation, and provides certainty for businesses.”
The manifesto was released the same day the UK Government released its Autumn Statement, which sets aside £520m ($652.9m) for life sciences funding, including a scheme that has reworked tax credits in R&D, in hopes of making life easier for drug and device developers.
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The manifesto calls for the establishment of a National Stakeholder Forum among healthcare professionals, medical device manufacturers and the government to ensure that they are able to share their concerns and influence government policy.
Supply chain issues take a large part of the focus in the manifesto, with post-Brexit regulations making importing relevant and required parts for medical devices more difficult and expensive.
At the same time, the manifesto details how 43% of UK-based health tech firms are considering scaling down or reducing the amount of stock they use.
Commenting on the manifesto, Mark Eastwood, Conservative MP for Dewsbury, said: “Medtech and healthcare suppliers are the unsung heroes of our health system and the bedrock of patient delivery.
“Collaborative design must be our approach in building our future health and social care landscape, and I commend the BHTA for providing a template to achieving this.”
Research published by GlobalData detailing the results of a healthcare industry survey found that in a post-Brexit UK, 61% of respondents were concerned about the impact of changing regulations making the UK a much less attractive place for health tech companies.
The same survey also found that 42% were worried that research and development would be impacted while 25% were concerned the UK would see delayed access to new health tech advances.