The Government has responded to the Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report ‘Life Sciences Industrial Strategy: Who’s driving the bus?’
It noted that the Committee inquiry was announced before the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy had been published. As the inquiry itself ran in parallel with the Government’s own work implementing the Life Sciences Sector Deal, it further argued that the evidence given to the committee did not fully reflect the progress achieved, and in many instances the views and recommendations within the report had been superseded by Government action.
Examples of Government action amongst others included the newly formed Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), a £30 million contract for Vanguard Study and the announcement of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC). Industry partners such as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and the BioIndustry Association (BIA) have provided positive feedback on the progress to date.
The report makes clear that the Government strongly supports the vision to make the UK a top tier global hub for biomedical and clinical research; it’s swift publication of actions to date on the Sector Deal highlighting its commitment to the vision.
As a result of a strong focus on implementation planning, the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board (LSISIB) has overall responsibility to oversee the implementation of the Industrial Strategy as well as delivery of the commitments made in the Sector Deal. It will meet quarterly to review such things as milestones, key metrics and owners for each commitment.
In response to the criticism of the current structure of the NHS, which ‘focuses on cost-control and lacks co-ordination between its various bodies, thereby stifling innovation’, a review is underway, led by Lord O’Shaughnessy, with participation from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England (NHSE), the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). The aim is to simplify the innovation landscape, so innovators can gain easier access to advice and development funding.
A single NHS innovation and Life Sciences Group will be formed within the NHS Strategy and Innovation Directorate, under the leadership of Dr Samantha Roberts. This group will lead work across NHSE and NHSI, to co-ordinate and align strategies between both organisations in order to give the highest priority to the adoption and spread of innovation throughout the NHS,
The report also noted that NHSE is exploring additional financial incentives for increasing the adoption of innovation, such as developing Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) indicators and the best practice tariff. NHSE has further agreed to relicense the 15 AHSNs in May 2018 with additional funding, for a further five years.