British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday announced GBP 113 million funding to use the country’s successful COVID Vaccine Taskforce model as a “blueprint” for the success of four “healthcare missions” of cancer, obesity, mental health and addiction.
The UK government said the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) is set to benefit from cutting-edge new treatments and technologies as the vaccines model is used to tackle the other major public health challenges.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the new investment is aimed at unlocking the next generation of medicines and diagnostics to save lives, transform patient care and ensure UK patients are the first to benefit from medical breakthroughs.
“The NHS faces real pressures, which is why we are investing over GBP 100 million in the technologies and medicines of the future to address some of the biggest public health challenges facing our country, said Sunak.
“It is hugely welcome too that the highly successful Vaccine Taskforce, which procured millions of life-saving vaccines in record time during the pandemic, will now become a blueprint for how we harness the best talent and expertise from around the world and drive investment in research and development, he said.
The government hopes to save the NHS millions of pounds that could otherwise be spent on patient care by tackling health issues such as obesity, which costs the health service over GBP 6 billion annually, and boost overall NHS efficiency.
“Conditions such as cancer and obesity prevent people leading long, healthy lives and cost the NHS billions of pounds every year,” said Health Secretary Steve Barclay.
“By harnessing the same spirit of innovation that delivered the vaccine rollout and working hand in hand with the NHS, industry and healthcare experts, he said.
In line with the Vaccines Taskforce, the four healthcare missions will be led by an independent chair an expert in that field to accelerate the development and introduction of the latest treatments and technology into the NHS, as well as drive collaboration across partners. This is aimed at ensuring better care for patients and improving the accuracy of diagnosis to free up clinician time, helping tackle the COVID-19 backlog, the DHSC said.
The UK is a leading light in life sciences and more generally a science superpower. This funding builds on this reputation to create jobs and growth while serving as a catalyst for an avalanche of additional private investment, said Business Secretary Grant Shapps.
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