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      The Health Tech Alliance was delighted to attend the annual MedTech Innovation Expo. Taking place at Birmingham’s NEC Arena, the Expo brings together companies from across the medical technology supply chain as well as key speakers from industry, the health service and Government.

      Mike Hannay, Chief Executive opened the conference by discussing the work of the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in developing and supporting healthcare innovation and explaining both their regional and national focuses. He admitted that national spread of innovative products continues to be challenging but stated that the AHSN would continue to foster collaboration and work to identify local priorities that could be spread with ease to regions with similar problems.

      We also heard from Dr Sam Roberts, Director of Innovation and Life Sciences at NHS England and Chief Executive of the newly ‘refreshed’ Accelerated Access Collaborative. Sam, who previously spoke to Health Tech Alliance members at their September 2018 members meeting, gave a refreshingly honest presentation on the changes to the structure of the Collaborative, and urged industry to feed back to NHS England on their thoughts as her unit continues to deliver on the aims set out in the Long Term Plan and Life Sciences Sector Deals. She told attendees that she was encouraged by the fact that NHS England and industry are working more in partnership than ever before, rather than working in opposition and in silos.

      Attendees also heard from Baroness Nicola Blackwood, the Ministerial Lead for MedTech and the life sciences industry. Blackwood gave a short speech, telling the audience that the Government’s publication of two Life Sciences Sector Deals was “a testament to an ambitious life sciences ecosystem”, which would be vital to increasing uptake of innovation. While she provided no new policy announcements, she admitted that the Accelerated Access Review had not been as effective as planned and stated that the refreshed structure had been in response to this.

      Aside from the brilliant array of speakers, the Expo was also a great opportunity to meet with a range of fascinating companies and see the innovations that they are producing. We were especially in awe of the ambition and talent on show from the UK’s MedTech companies and are delighted to continue to champion this industry as a key pillar in the broader life sciences sector.