In December 2011 the Department of Health (DH) set out plans to support the development, adoption and spread of innovation in the NHS. ‘Innovation, Health and Wealth, accelerating adoption and diffusion in the NHS’ (IHW) is part of the Government’s Plan for Growth and the Life Sciences Strategy. One of the actions identified in the IHW paper aims to drive implementation of NICE Technology Appraisals (TA) and reduce variation by publishing information that relates to levels of variation and compliance with NICE TAs, locally, as stated:
‘Working with industry, the Department of Health, NICE, the NHS and the Health and Social Care Information Centre, we will develop and publish a straightforward Innovation Scorecard, designed to track adoption of NICE Technology Appraisals at a local level’.
IHW committed the NHS to establish a NICE compliance regime to ensure the rapid and consistent implementation of NICE TAs throughout the NHS. This regime was introduced in January 2012, and includes a new requirement set out in the Operating Framework, binding the NHS to comply with NICE TAs. The NHS is legally obliged to fund and resource medicines and treatments recommended by NICE TAs where clinically appropriate.
The Accelerated Access Review (AAR) commissioned by the government in November 2014 sets out recommendations to speed up access to innovative healthcare and technologies, to improve efficiency and outcomes for NHS patients. The final report released in October 2016 makes recommendations to make it easier for NHS patients to access innovative medicines, medical technologies, diagnostics and digital products, improving efficiency and patient outcomes.
The AAR makes a number of references to the development of the Scorecard in particular its role in measuring the uptake of medicines and potential to measure other technologies. It also makes a specific recommendation “5.7. There should be a single, accessible source of information on the uptake of technologies for the NHS, patients and industry”. It proposes that, in future, the Innovation Scorecard should be the single source of information on the use of innovation in the NHS. It should be owned by NICE and used by the rest of the Accelerated Access Partnership, particularly NHS England and NHS Improvement, to hold the system to account and assess the progress of local areas.
The Innovation Scorecard is currently published every 6 months by NHS Digital on behalf of the Office for Life Sciences, with the first publication in January 2013. This work is informed by collaborative working with colleagues from the Association of the British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), Cabinet Office, DH, NHS Digital, the NHS, NHS England, NICE, Office for Life Sciences, and the pharmaceutical industry.