Will the government heed concerns over life sciences strategy?
A report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has found the government’s commitment to delivering the life sciences industrial strategy ‘wholly inadequate’.
The report, Life sciences industrial strategy: Who’s driving the bus? said the government has failed to engage the NHS effectively even though the NHS is critical to the delivery of the strategy.
The strategy has commitment from the business, charity and academic sectors, but commitment from the NHS has been incoherent, uncoordinated and ineffective, said the report.
The NHS does not have the capacity to play a central role in implementation and its current structures stifle innovation, the report said.
Committee members urged the NHS to prioritise the uptake and spread of innovation and reward clinicians and managers who succeed in this.
The committee also wants a life sciences governing body to oversee implementation of the strategy, with appropriate ministers appointed to make sure the body has the cross-government backing it needs to work.
A successful life sciences sector is vital to the UK economy and the health and wellbeing of the population, said the committee.
Committee chairman Lord Patel said the strategy stands little chance of success without a detailed plan for implementation and clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability.
The government has the chance to get ahead of international competition and must take steps to ensure the growth and expansion of the life sciences sector, he said.