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Supporting the NHS Q1 2022

Supporting patients and the NHS through early detection

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Nishan Sunthares

Managing Director, Diagnostics, ABHI

The benefits of diagnostics are well understood. It is now time for the appropriate investment to realise their capabilities for the NHS and the patients they serve. 

Getting a fast, accurate diagnosis is a fundamental element of modern healthcare. It guides clinical decisions on appropriate treatments or interventions and determines ongoing healthcare needs.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, awareness of the role diagnostic solutions play in disease detection and management grew profoundly. What might the future look like if this model is expanded to help address more health conditions?

Vision for diagnostic technologies

At ABHI, it is our vision to make high quality diagnostic technologies accessible to all who need them, so that diseases and health conditions can be detected and treated earlier.

Earlier diagnosis is critical to improving the survival rates of those who have a serious condition. For example, 92% of patients with bowel cancer diagnosed at stage 1 survive their disease for at least five years, compared to 10% of patients diagnosed at stage 4.1 Early disease detection opens the door to planning the care and support for those in need.

92% of patients with bowel cancer diagnosed at stage 1 survive their disease for at least five years.

Supporting the NHS workforce

Not only can diagnostics bring significant benefits to patient care, but they can also cut waiting times and alleviate NHS workforce burdens. In clinical oncology, for example, AI-powered medical imaging has the potential to revolutionise clinicians’ workflow and automate time-consuming tasks. Rapid test platforms also have the capability to reduce testing turnaround times.

Yet despite the well-recognised importance of diagnostics, and the fact that 95% of all clinical pathways rely on patient access to pathology services, including cancer diagnosis, funding for pathology only accounts for 2% of the NHS budget.

Investment is key to driving improvements

Appropriate investment and a shift towards early diagnosis, rather than simply just treatment, would therefore lead to significant improvements, not only in patient outcomes, but in the workload of those working within the NHS.

Diagnostic tools and tests are fundamental to modern healthcare. They need to be funded properly and fully integrated into clinical strategies to enable our healthcare workers to utilise them effectively. At ABHI, we are currently working with the health technology industry, government, the NHS and national partners to make this vision a reality.

[1] www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/datasets/cancersurvivalratescancersurvivalinenglandadultsdiagnosed

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