MedTech Wednesday is our regular check-in here at Spreckley, where we share all the most interesting and useful healthcare innovation and health technology news and trends.
This week we look at DigitalHealth.London opening applications for its new Launchpad programme, the deployment of the UK’s second antiviral and the new cap on legal costs that are set to save the NHS millions.
Applications for DigitalHealth.London’s Launchpad now open
This large-scale programme is promoted towards businesses at the beginning of their product or service lifecycle and that are nearing launch into the health and social care market. Subsequently, the programme is designed to support digital health companies who have an increased potential of meeting current issues and challenges facing the NHS and social care sectors.
Those involved in the Launchpad programme will receive 12 hours of support across a three-month period, consisting of a range of workshops, in-depth guidance from a DigitalHealth.London consultant and advice from experts across healthcare innovation.
Jenny Thomas, programme director of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges the NHS has faced but has also highlighted the importance of digital innovation and the pivotal role it will play in the recovery and the future of the NHS.”
The most vulnerable to receive second antiviral
A significant number of the most vulnerable Brits are to gain access to the UK’s second antiviral from February 10th according to Health Business.
It has been announced by the government that those who are high risk and have tested positive for Covid-19 can access Pfizer’s new anti-viral PF-07321332+ritonavir. Both the antiviral molupiravir and monoclonal antibody scotrovimab are ready for mass deployment to the high-risk population with 10,000 patients said to have had treatment so far.
It has been stated that PF-07321332+ritonavir reduces the relative risk of coronavirus-associated hospitalisation or death by 88 per cent potentially saving thousands easing the pressure on the NHS. As of today, remarkably 4.98 million courses of the anti-viral have been procured.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Our pharmaceutical defences are crucial as we learn to live with Covid-19 and the UK is leading the way, especially when it comes to the use of cutting-edge antivirals. This is an important milestone – especially as Paxlovid has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death for vulnerable patients by 88 per cent, meaning potentially thousands of lives could be saved.”
New cap on clinical negligence fees to save NHS over £500 million
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that the government is pushing a consultation regarding disproportionate legal fees for low-value negligence schemes Health Business reports.
The proposals outline aims to bring legal costs in line with the amounts of compensation being awarded for low-value claims in the range of £1,000 – £25,000. Nevertheless, this only directly affects how much the legal costs claimants and their lawyers can obtain following a successful claim and not the compensations that patients would gain.
The Department of Health has stated that there has been a rise in individuals making claims as a factor towards to overall cost of criminal negligence. Staggeringly costs of clinical negligence in England gave grown from £582 million in 2006 to 2.2 billion in 2020/21.
Alarmingly there is no limit in legal costs that can be claimed back by lawyers with legal costs being four times higher on average than defendant legal costs for lower value claims. Furthermore, this is taking vital funding from the NHS as it struggles to keep up with demand last behind by the pandemic.
Maria Caulfield, Minister for Patient Safety, said: “Unfortunately, we are seeing some law firms profiting at the NHS’ expense through legal costs that far outweigh the actual compensation awarded to patients. This diverts resources from the NHS frontline as staff work hard to tackle the Covid-19 backlogs. Our proposals will cap legal costs for lower value claims to ensure they are fair and proportionate and ensure patients’ claims are resolved as swiftly as possible without reducing the compensation they deserve.”