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Editor's blog Tuesday 13 July 2009: The pass for innovation

More details have been made available over the leak this weekend of the NICE over-ride.

Under the new 'Life Sciences Blueprint', the 'innovation pass' will be a three-year scheme starting in 2010-11, for which the DH has a £25 million budget for the first year. NHS CE David Nicholson's promised review of system levers and incentives, including Payment by Results will seek to accelerate the uptake of medical technologies.

Nicholson will also take personal responsibility for the NHS programme of action to drive greater quality, innovation, productivity, and prevention (QIPP).

Moreover, the Government will reinforce the need for greater emphasis on research and clinical trials in the next NHS Operating Framework.

An SHA delivery group will be set up to monitor progress. Does anyone else see a trap being laid for the Conservatives, whose plans are to abolish the strategic health authorities?

Trusts' quality accounts will also now have to include the number of patients enrolled in clinical trials. This is, of course, not a new target.

And hallelujah! The first year of the 'innovation pass' scheme will be evaluated before deciding whether to commit to the second and third years. This is actually sensible stuff.

Changes to NICE
There is also a great deal about changes to NICE, which will "play a key role in developing and applying the eligibility criteria for the pass". Drug companies whose products are undergoing appraisal will be able to attend NICE appraisal committee meetings to answer any questions from the committee, and will have an opportunity to comment on matters of factual accuracy. At the end of a NICE appraisal, manufacturers will be provided with the opportunity to have a debriefing meeting with NICE, and Evidence Review Groups will be asked to attend scoping meetings for NICE Single Technology Appraisals.

Sir Ian Kennedy's review of NICE's criteria to identify the aspects
of value and innovation that NICE should take into account in its work will be published on 22 July 2009. NICE will conduct a one-month public consultation on its response to the Kennedy report in September 2009.

From November 2009, NICE will also implement improvements in the way in which it explains the impact of specific factors in its decision-making

You can download a PDF of the 'blueprint' here.