Health CommitteeWritten evidence from Association of British Healthcare Industries (ETWP 76)


1. ABHI lead the advocacy of the UK medical technology industry. Our mission is to champion the benefits and use of safe and effective medical technologies to deliver high quality patient outcomes. We advocate policies that allow members to operate in favourable business environment:

In the UK Market: Policies that support the rapid evaluation, reimbursement and adoption of medical technologies by UK healthcare systems.

In the International Markets: Policies to provide an effective gateway to foreign markets.

With appropriate Regulations and Standards: Simple and smart regulation, providing patients with safe, effective, high quality and innovative medical technologies.

With appropriate Ethics and Principles: Policies to ensure business is conducted in the right manner.

Executive Summary

2. This submission focuses on the criteria identified in the terms of reference set out by the Select Committee, focussing specifically on:

Establishing a culture of innovation through training.

The role of the medical technology sector in providing training for NHS professionals on medical technology. How will the Government ensure that medical technology manufacturers are granted the appropriate level of access to NHS professionals to ensure that they have the necessary training levels?

How the Government will ensure that frontline clinicians are given the appropriate levels of training in new and innovative products.

Implementing the measures in “Innovation Health and Wealth: Accelerating the Adoption and Diffusion in the NHS.

Establishing a Culture of Innovation through Funding

3. The way healthcare is delivered is a constantly evolving process. Many of these developments are as a result of technological developments supplied by the medical technology industry. The medical device industry and the NHS have a history of close collaboration.

4. If this relationship is to continue to thrive the Government must provide training structures that support clinicians to work with industry to innovate. This will require facilitating industry access to frontline clinicians and giving members of the NHS the time and space to develop new treatments.

5. The culture of innovation must be embedded in the NHS by encouraging and supporting clinicians to spread best practice to other healthcare systems. This could be facilitated in a number of ways:

A system of secondments were healthcare practitioners are supported to move to different Trusts to help them understand and utilise innovative technologies and practices.

Encouragement of the OLIA on-line interactive learning tool.

Supporting collaborations between different Trusts to facilitate joint working that can bring both Trusts to the same level of understanding.

The Role of the Medical Technology Industry in Providing Training and Education

6. The NHS spends around £5 billion per year on medical technology and the UK has a thriving medical technology industry.

7. The UK has a strong track record of inventing new technology, much of which has been supported by the medical device industry, either at the point of discovery or to help spread the innovation following invention. Examples include:

(a)The portable defibrillator was invented by Frank Pantridge, an Irish physician and cardiologist in 1965.

(b)English engineer Godfrey Houndsfield invented the CAT scanner in 1973.

(c)First human MRI performed by Sir Peter Mansfield’s team in Nottingham in 1977.

8. These innovations have spread across the NHS via the medical technology industry.

9. The medical technology industry provides training and education on the safe and effective use of products, including recommended operating techniques and guidance on care pathways where relevant. This training is generally carried out by employees of the medical technology industry.

10. This training takes place in a number of locations- hospitals of GPs surgeries, through supporting clinicians to attend the relevant educational congresses and conferences or providing specialised training at purpose built training facilities. This training is generally provided for free.

11. Industry has an important role in supporting healthcare professionals in theatres during procedures. This support is crucial to the training and development of healthcare professionals and should be encouraged. ABHI recommends the Government look at how they will support this relationship.

12. Medical device manufacturers have a legal obligation to provide training for their products. This requires close working with NHS Staff. This relationship can be jeopardised by the NHS managers placing blanket bans on industry talking to the frontline NHS staff. This interaction should be encouraged by managers.

13. Without the thousands of hours of training provided by medical technology manufacturers every year many treatments would be unavailable to patients.

14. The Government must support the medical technology industry to continue to support the NHS by implementing the proposals set out in the NHS innovation Review that aim to establish a jointly funded industry and NHS training and education programme.

15. The joint education programme should be accessible at all levels of the NHS, from senior managers to frontline clinicians.

Ensuring Clinicians get Training in New and Innovative Products

16. As the NHS Commissioning Board establishes Clinical Guidelines for healthcare providers they must also provide guidelines as to how clinicians can get appropriate training. These guidelines should also provide guidance on appropriate providers of this training.

17. All innovation training, whether provided by industry, professional trainers or peers, should be built into managerial and clinical curricula CPD.

18. All NHS Trusts should develop a clear strategy as to how they are going to train their staff. This strategy should set out the number of hours that staff are committed to undertake and who will provide this training- NHS peers, professional trainers or industry.

19. Medical technology is constantly evolving, well established devices are frequently developed and new devices are regularly produced. Training programmes must take this into account and provide enough flexibility to allow for training on new products.

20. Innovative models of service delivery could be created to allow the provision of training delivered jointly via partnerships or joint ventures between the public and private sectors that could lever the expertise of both sides.

December 2011

Prepared 22nd May 2012