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The December Health Tech Alliance meeting saw representatives from the Shelford Group of teaching hospitals provide some fascinating insights into the realities of hospital procurement and work collaboratively with our industry members to think of solutions to some of the key issues around the uptake of health technologies.

Members first heard from Nick Kirby, managing director of the Shelford Group, who gave an overview of the direction in which Trusts were travelling when it came to the uptake and spread of innovation. He believed trusts were becoming increasingly less competitive with each other and many were taking a holistic view of healthcare that involves considering the wider social determinants of health.

Nick, alongside a number of procurement specialists present, also believed that the changing role of NHS Supply Chain would have a positive impact on the uptake of innovation, but there will inevitably be other factors at play, including the introduction of the MedTech Funding Mandate.

Members also benefitted from a range of useful tips from procurement leads on how to increase uptake, including best practice learned from the Test Beds programme. This included engaging in ongoing discussions with a broad group of stakeholders, including commissioners, patients and clinicians and having an agile team in place to ensure products are embedding.

Finally, members and procurement specialists discussed how innovators and hospital procurement teams could work together more effectively and in alignment with the Long-Term Plan. This discussion saw our delegates produce an array of practical suggestions for future work and some thought-provoking ideas for long-term engagement. We the Alliance would like to again thank our speakers and we look forward to working closely with the Shelford Group in future to ensure patients continue to access life-changing innovations.

Speaking after the meeting, Chair Dame Barbara Hakin said, “representatives from the Shelford Group gave a fascinating and honest insight into the challenges of hospital procurement and worked with members to produce some ambitious but practical ideas that both procurement leads and industry can take forward to encourage the uptake of innovation. We look forward to working closely with the Shelford Group in the future to ensure patients across the UK continue to access life-changing medical technologies.”

Our speaker, Nick Kirby told the Alliance, “collaboration between innovators and NHS providers is essential in encouraging the adoption of medical devices and diagnostics. We look forward to working closely with the Alliance to ensure more patients and clinicians can benefit from transformative and cost-effective technologies.”