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Government asks Lord Darzi to help bring patients new treatments

The Government has appointed former health minister Lord Ara Darzi to spearhead patient access to medical innovations.

He will chair the Accelerated Access Collaborative, a joint government-industry group seeks to fast-track NHS patient access to products to treat conditions such as cancer, diabetes and dementia, under the Accelerated Access Pathway.

Lord Darzi, an Imperial College London professor and influential NHS policymaker, said: ‘Britain is world leading in medical science and research, but we need to make sure that people in the UK are able to reap the benefits of this innovation.

‘It is vitally important that patients have rapid access to cost-effective, transformative treatments on the NHS. Doing so will not only improve the health of our patients, but will promote future collaboration between the life sciences sector and the NHS post-Brexit – benefiting the British economy and creating jobs.’

Lord Darzi recently set out a 10-point plan for the NHS for the 2020s, in which he said that all GP partners should be offered salaried NHS employment and called general practice the ‘jewel of the crown’ that must be protected.

He will replace former chair Sir Andrew Witty, who resigned in March due to a conflict of interest in his role as CEO of health infrastructure company Optum.

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: ‘I want the UK to be at the forefront of breakthrough treatments and medical innovations – but often it can take too long for products to get from the bench to the bedside.

‘The Accelerated Access Pathway will speed up this process so patients can benefit from the best technologies far quicker – and I’m delighted to appoint Lord Darzi as the chair to oversee this important work.’