The long-awaited Health and Care Bill was introduced to parliament this week, to begin the legislative process that is anticipated to see it brought into law by April 2022. As expected, the Bill covers a wide range of areas building on previous recommendations for legislative reform following The NHS Long Term Plan and the white paper Integration and Innovation: Working together to improve Health and Social Care for all. Two key points to note for medtech and digital suppliers are:
- Know your customer - the Bill will replace Clinical Commmissioning Groups with Integrated Care Boards, new statutory bodies which will operate on a larger scale and have a wider remit to purchase solutions for the benefit of their whole population. This ought to provide suppliers of medtech/ digital solutions with opportunities. It is worth noting that other the reforms make no changes to the hospital trusts which buy these solutions or to the Academic Health Science Networks and Commissioning Support Units which support adoption of innovation.
- Data sharing - The Bill includes provisions that are intended to enable increased data sharing across health and social care, including the collection of data from private health care providers. This includes a requirement for providers of health or adult social care to comply with 'information standards' rather than simply having regard to them. The Bill also includes a power for relevant health or social care public bodies to require that information which does not identify an individual, to be shared.
The trend continues for more adoption of medtech and digital solutions in the NHS, and the reforms set out in the bill will not alter that but nor will they make significant changes to the manner in or speed at which these solutions are adopted.
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