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Publication, Part of

NICE Technology Appraisals in the NHS in England (Innovation Scorecard) To June 2021

Official statistics

Background and Introduction


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.



The Innovation Scorecard aims to improve transparency within the NHS of what treatments recommended by NICE are available at a local level within Trusts and CCGs as well as national and NHS England Region levels. The Innovation Scorecard has been published with the intention of assisting the NHS in the identification of variation, which, through discussion, can be explained, challenged or acted upon. It is not intended to be used for performance management.

Information on compliance with NICE guidance by NHS organisations is not centrally collected. Due to limitations in the data available, and to improve transparency, the Innovation Scorecard reports on variation based on a range of different data sets. The data sets currently used in the publication include:

  • English Prescribing Dataset (EPD) published by the NHS Business Services Authority
  • Secondary Care Medicines Data (SCMD) published by the NHS Business Services Authority
  • Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) data from NHS Digital
  • Mid-year population estimates from Office for National Statistics
  • Defined Daily Doses (DDDs) from World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology

The resources available for this publication include this report with associated background quality report, an estimates report, csv data files, guidance documents, key facts infographic and an online web platform.

  • Latest data is available up to June 2021. 5 full calendar years of Primary Care data, 4 and a half calendar years of Secondary Care data.

Main findings

The Innovation Scorecard measures use of 166 medicines which includes 9 medicine groupings for the prevention of stroke (DOACs for both primary and secondary care), multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, smoking cessation, sever asthma, acute coronary syndrome, diabetes and hepatitis C in the NHS in England.

For the 12 months from July 2020 to June 2021 (compared to the previous 12 months):

  • 99% of medicines were prescribed more (147 of the 149 medicines with data for each of the latest 8 quarters)
  • All 9 medicine groupings were used more

When interpreting the data there are a number of considerations:

  • medicines can be used to treat multiple conditions
  • a condition can be treated with various medicines
  • one medicine may displace another, for example, an older class of medicine will show a large decrease in contrast to a newer class of medicine that has increased in use
  • for a typical uptake curve the rate of increase is rapid in the early years but eases off over time


Medicines with increase in use

For the 12 months from July 2020 to June 2021 (compared to the previous 12 months):

  • There were 147 individual medicines which recorded an increase in prescribing. This is based on the 149 (out of 166) individual medicines which had some prescribing in every quarter of the most recent 24 months.

Medicines with decrease in use

For the 12 months from July 2020 to June 2021 (compared to the previous 12 months):

  • There were 2 individual medicines which recorded a decrease in prescribing. This is based on the 149 (out of 166) individual medicines which had some prescribing in every quarter of the most recent 24 months.

A decrease in prescribing should not immediately be interpreted as a concern.  It may be attributed to a number of factors including the arrival of a newer medicine, substitution (where a medicine is used for another indication), safety recall/alerts issued on that medicine or a barrier to uptake e.g. poor clinical consensus.

Medicine groupings

Medicine groupings were introduced to the Innovation Scorecard in January 2016 and have been developed by analysts and pharmacists at NHS Digital, ABPI, OHE, NICE, OLS and NHS England.

These medicine groupings have been designed to show the combined use of medicines where:

  • There are a number of medicines as options for treatment of a specific condition
  • One TA covers more than one medicine for the same indication
  • Two or more TAs cover the same specific condition

It is more informative to compare uptake of combined options for treatment than only showing uptake of the individual medicines in isolation.

The published medicine groupings will only include those medicines with a positive TA. All other treatment options which may be available will not be reported in the Innovation Scorecard unless agreed by the Technical Working Group as an exception. Medicines with discontinuing use that have been replaced by newer medicines may also be excluded from the group.

There are 9 medicine groupings published in this release of the Innovation Scorecard as a result of a review to align with the 5 High Health Gain policy areas for NHS England and NHS Improvement. The use of medicines to prevent stroke (DOACs) is reported separately for primary care and secondary care due to the specific conditions they are being used for. All other medicine groupings report use in the NHS as a whole i.e. covering both primary and secondary care.

For the 12 months from July 2020 to June 2021 (compared to the previous 12 months):

  • 9 medicine groupings were used more


Last edited: 1 November 2021 4:25 pm