MedTech and continence sector campaigns: securing market access and delivering value-based procurement.
With the NHS as its biggest single customer, the MedTech sector in the United Kingdom operates in a unique and highly regulated marketplace, securing access to which is a constant challenge. Even when access is achieved through regulatory compliance, securing product take-up and delivering value-based procurement can be difficult in an environment of suspicion of the private sector, and which has a focus on item price rather than overall value to patients and whole system costs. Whitehouse has unrivalled experience working on MedTech and continence policy with and for organisations across the spectrum from individual businesses to trade associations and patient advocates.
Our approach delivers and maintains a constructive dialogue between the sector and policymakers and regulators, with the consistent message that the patient pathway and experience should be central to policy, regulation and practice. Our consistent theme is that patients have a right to access, and clinicians have a right to provide for them, the most appropriate medical devices and products for their needs.
When necessary, we have created alliances of patient advocacy groups to champion their cause, putting pressure on government ministers and wider policy makers to ensure that patients’ quality of life and health outcomes should not be compromised by an obsession with purchasing for them the cheapest, rather than the most appropriate product. In most cases getting the right product, even if it is more expensive, will reduce the overall cost to the NHS and social care system.
Our message is that the right product can, in the continence sector, reduce leaks of urine and faeces, reduce laundry costs, lead to fewer skin infections and ulcers, fewer patient falls and urinary tract infections, and so significantly reduce unplanned admissions to hospital and reductions in staff time and injuries. Fundamentally, patient quality of life and health outcomes should be at the heart of purchasing practices and product provision.
We have consistently, over several decades, delivered a benign regulatory approach and have won with officials, particularly at the MedTech Directorate of the Department of Health and Social Care and with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the argument that purchasing policies should be based on value to patients and the whole health and care system, rather than item price. We are now working on turning these principles into consistent practice by purchasing managers on the ground.