Diagnostics in the UK: building a sector that is fit for the future

Following publication of a report compiled by Roche Diagnostics, three leading experts who contributed to the document discuss the impact that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had on the industry, the challenges ahead, and their visions for the future.

While the value of diagnostics has sometimes been overlooked in healthcare, the importance of testing has been proved beyond doubt during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In vitro diagnostics inform 70% of all NHS clinical decisions, yet the sector only receives £1 for every £100 spent in the NHS.1 There is a clear discrepancy between the value that diagnostics brings to healthcare systems, patients and the wider society, and the investment it currently receives. Voices across the industry are now calling for this to change, as we look to build and strengthen our diagnostics sector, so it is fit for the future challenges our NHS will face.

                The recently published UK Life Sciences Vision highlights early diagnosis and treatment as one of seven key missions, and a new report from Roche Diagnostics, The Future of Diagnostics Delivery in the UK, has highlighted the three key areas of development for building the diagnostics industry of the future:

Ultimately, the diagnostics that exist today – and the new innovations being developed – are only valuable when they can be accessed, both by clinicians and patients. When the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approves medicines for use, care providers are mandated to introduce and integrate them into care pathways. This has revolutionised patient access to state-of-the-art therapies across a range of conditions. Yet for diagnostics, innovations with a positive NICE guidance do not receive mandated funding and so are not always integrated into care systems. Sector leaders are now calling for diagnostics to be scaled up in the same way, ensuring that all positively appraised innovations can reach the people who need them.

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