Signing of the Health and Care Bill into law: BIVDA reaction
BIVDA, the UK’s in vitro diagnostics trade association, has commented on the passing of the Health and Care Bill into law, which took place recently.
Some 200+ IVD member companies supply or support key diagnostic technologies and standalone products to the NHS. Stability of these supply chains, commissioning processes and specifics regarding purchase tenders are critical factors to the protection of UK diagnostic care and optimised patient outcomes.
- BIVDA supports the integration of healthcare provision and community services across England. Collaboration and increased dialogue between health professionals will encourage joined-up thinking to services and more seamless care pathways. We advocate the increased use of IVDs in primary care settings, including GP surgeries and pharmacies for earlier diagnosis of disease, reduced hospital visits and for the supply of vital patient data.
- The Bill’s provisions on workforce planning fall short regarding the frequency of reporting and planning. Ensuring sufficient pathology worker supply is essential to the reduction of diagnostic backlogs. BIVDA calls for continued efforts to bolster the numbers of pathologists working in the UK, as well as accurate projections of potential shortages. Inadequate workforce planning jeopardises patient safety and can delay the provision of life-saving treatments.
- BIVDA calls for the allocation of tenders to be made in the best interest of patients, local populations and the taxpayer. The Association considers the removal of commissioner led tendering to be a positive step, and providing the laboratory services can continue to deliver the value that is now embedded into the system due to the competitive tendering model, the quality of healthcare to patients can improve and the quality of service provision can continue.
BIVDA supports the main thrust of this Bill, including greater cooperation between health services, empowerment of local authorities, transparent service accountability and tender planning.
Member companies will be supported in dealing with any commercial impacts from this new Bill. BIVDA’s secretariat will provide advice and materials on how IVD companies can navigate the new ICS structuring and approaches to NHS tendering, to ensure continued IVD supply for the protection of patients, tackling backlogs and the expansion of UK life sciences.