The UK Government has granted £86m to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the development and testing of new healthcare technologies in the National Health Service (NHS).

Aimed at accelerating access to medicine and technology, the funding is split into four packages to support both digital healthcare and new drugs.

Of the total grant, £39m will be used by the Academic Health Science Networks (ASHNs) to evaluate the uses of new technologies and also support NHS uptake of the technologies that provide benefits with respect to local need.

A £35m Digital Health Technology Catalyst is granted for the development of digital technologies that can be used by the NHS as well as by the patients to manage their conditions from home.

Furthermore, a £6m Pathway Transformation Fund is provided for integration of new technologies by the NHS into everyday practices, and an additional £6m will be offered over the coming three years to investigate new medicines and devices in the real world.

"The government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible."

Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “The government’s ambition is that NHS patients get world-leading, life-changing treatments as fast as possible.

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“That can’t happen unless we support medical innovation and tear down the barriers – like speed to market and access to funding – that can get in the way, especially for SMEs.

“Our investment in innovation shows how much we value the UK life sciences sector.”

The government has also previously funded several technologies, which are reported to be currently in use and beneficial to patients.