Government backs med-tech for rapid growth

The government is to launch a new Medical Technologies Division within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to focus on Britain’s leading position in med-tech research and innovation. The sector’s reputation as been internationally boosted by the rapid development and demonstrably successful roll-out of the Astra Zeneca covid vaccine and the indentification of a raft of treatments already licensed by the medicines regulator, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency).

The announcement of the new division was made by Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer of the DHSC, in a note to med-tech trade associations, including the Urology Trades Association chaired by Whitehouse Communication’s Director of Healthcare Policy, Chris Whitehouse.

The full text of the announcement:

From: Oldfield, Steve <>
Sent: 04 May 2021 13:24
Subject: The MedTech Directorate

Dear Colleague,

I am writing today to inform you that we are in the process of establishing a new Medical Technologies (‘Med Tech’) Directorate in the Department, which will sit within my Commercial and Life Sciences Group. I know the teams and I have already shared this news with many of you verbally over the past few weeks, but I wanted to take this opportunity to put it in writing and provide you directly with the information below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team via the email address at the end.

The new Directorate will focus on the increasingly important role medical technologies are playing in the prevention of ill health and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. COVID-19, in particular, has shone a light on the criticality of the Med Tech sector to the effective functioning of the healthcare system, and provides an opportunity for us to review how we regulate, commission and use them on an ongoing basis, as well as to build an ever more thriving sector in the UK. While the directorate has been formally confirmed, we will be building its capacity and function over the coming weeks, including hiring a permanent Director of Medical Technologies. For the time being, the following will form the core of the new directorate as it is set up. Many of these names will, I am sure, be familiar to you.

  • Chris Stirling – led the COVID-19 response for Oxygen, Ventilation, Medical Devices and Clinical Consumables. Chris is a consultant and will become Interim Director of Med Tech while we search for a permanent director.
  • Sara Felix – led the National Supply Disruption Response and will look at some of the policy, strategy and regulatory considerations of the new directorate. The devices regulation team will be a key part of this function.
  • David Wathey – our resident subject-matter expert on Med Tech, David holds long-standing relationships with many of you and other key stakeholders. David will continue to lead on customer relations and supply resilience and sustainability issues. His existing team will move into the new Directorate and will expand to meet the new, broader remit.
  • Robert Moorhead – will continue to provide day-to-day leadership for the COVID-19 Oxygen, Ventilation, Medical Devices and Clinical Consumables programme, supporting the transition of continuing activities to the relevant permanent teams and the wind-down of other programme activities.

Despite the challenges of the past year, it is significant that we have been able to maintain the continuity of supply of vital medical equipment and devices, enabling the NHS to maintain delivery of safe high-quality patient care. The Med Tech sector has been crucial in that success. We have seen unprecedented collaboration between suppliers, clinicians and operational teams that has enabled the UK to react quickly to significant challenges and innovate at pace: thank you. I am keen to build on this collaborative spirit through a directorate that brings all elements of Med Tech supply, regulation, innovation and value together.

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