The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that new improvements to the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) will put the most promising medicines, diagnostic tools and digital services through the clinical development and regulatory approval process faster.

Originating in 2018, the ACC is designed to speed up the time it takes for patients to benefit from ground-breaking products for conditions such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.

As it becomes the new ‘umbrella’ organisation for UK health innovation, it will act as the ‘front door’ for innovators looking to get their products funded by the NHS as well as providing support to overcome barriers that can prevent the best medical innovations from reaching patients.

New improvements to the ACC will implement a system to identify the best new innovations and make sure the NHS is ready to make use of them, as well as setting up a single point of call for innovators working inside or outside the NHS, so they can understand the system and where to go for support.

In order to implement these changes a new unit in NHS England and NHS Improvement will be established, led by Dr Sam Roberts as chief executive.

The AAC has already selected and supported 12 ‘rapid uptake products’ to increase their use within the NHS, including a blood test for pre-eclampsia, which can diagnose the condition earlier in pregnancy and significantly reduce life-threatening complications.

Lord David Prior, chair of NHS England, said, “Our ambition is very clear: the NHS will be the most innovative health care system in the world with much easier access and much quicker uptake of new and innovative products. This applies to therapeutics, diagnostics, digital devices and our whole supply chain. It is a top priority for the NHS.

The chosen products have the potential to improve the lives of around 500,000 patients and save the NHS up to £30 million.