The National Assembly for Wales’ Health and Social Care Committee has recommended that, as a matter of priority, technologies that impact upon health should be identified in a more strategic, coordinated and streamlined approach.
The role new technology plays in improving the delivery of health and social services is well recognised, with benefits including better outcomes for patients, clinicians and carers.
However, in a recent inquiry the Committee heard that, in many cases, technologies are being introduced in Wales due to the enthusiasm of individual clinicians, leading to variable service provision across health boards.
Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine gave evidence to the inquiry. Commenting on the report, published this week, he said:
“Post-marketing surveillance of new medical devices can be carried out effectively by manufacturers, but industry currently has little clarity about the ‘front door’ through which they are to engage with NHS Wales. More stringent requirements to provide evidence from clinical trials for the safety and efficacy of such devices before they are approved for use will be welcomed by patients, clinicians and the medical device industry.”
As a result of the evidence presented, the Committee is calling on the Welsh Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services to take further steps to develop the approach to medical technology adoption in Wales and ensure this adoption adequately encompasses the primary and community care voices.
In the report “Access to medical technologies in Wales”, the Committee also recommends that the Minister should give consideration to the creation of an all-Wales body to appraise and prioritise new technologies.