The birth of a new group tasked with flying the flag for innovation and securing its place in the future of both the UK’s life sciences industry and National Health Service has been announced.

A key goal of the NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board - a globally unique partnership between senior NHS leaders, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, senior policy makers and industry leaders from the life sciences sector - is to boost the uptake and spread of cost effective medicines and medical technologies throughout the health service.

The LSDIB’s conception in November last year was considered a significant milestone in the delivery of the Office for Life Science’s Blueprint, and comes alongside other recent initiatives – such as the Innovation Pass, which aims to get patients with rare diseases earlier access to promising new drugs – all designed to accelerate the uptake of health innovation throughout the NHS.

But the Board has also been charged with forging a closer working relationship between the NHS and life sciences sector, with a particular focus on improving the sharing of information to ultimately improve patient services, as well as increase the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for clinical trials and product development to help develop a collaborative research culture and sustain economic growth.

The life sciences industry in the UK employs over 120,000 people and sinks around £5 billion into R&D in the country, and it is hoped that the new Board will help the industry to channel its activities on developing new medicines and devices to meet the needs of the NHS and its patients, and thereby secure a better chance of return on its investment.

Better use of innovation will also help the NHS to increase its productivity and offer patients higher quality services, which, in turn, should give it a stronger footing to deal with having to generate efficiency savings of up to £20 billion over the next three years at a time of rising demand on its resources.

“The aim of this new Board is to enable the life sciences industry and the NHS to work together in collaboration for the benefit of patients,” said its chairman Mike Farrar, which, he noted, “can only be good news for all parties concerned”.