Any new medicine or treatment, medical device, diagnostic technique, vaccine procedure or system developed to solve a health problem goes through an evaluation called a health technology assessment (HTA). These are carried out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) at the request of the Government’s Department of Health and Social Care.
Lymphoma Action are invited to represent the patient voice at all HTAs that are related to blood cancer. As Stephen Scowcroft, Director of Operations and External Affairs explains: ‘The reason Lymphoma Action are involved is that it is a really important way of ensuring that people have access to the right treatment, whatever their type of lymphoma. Over the years, thousands of people have been able to access latest treatments for lymphoma that they may not have otherwise been able to.’
You can find out more about the health technology process on our website, where you will also find a video explaining the process and introducing Jonathan, who is affected by lymphoma. Jonathon saw a social media message from Lymphoma Action, seeking people who had received a particular drug or with a specific type of lymphoma. As a patient representative, Jonathon was able to give an insight into what the approval of a new drug would mean to people.
Health technology assessments can be very technical and focus on complex scientific and economic data. By representing the patient voice, Lymphoma Action make sure that the people involved in the decision-making process keep the patient at the heart of the decision. Reading quality of life statistics in a clinic report is very different from hearing about the real impact of lymphoma and its treatment first-hand.
Lymphoma Action regularly call for people to assist in HTAs, often through social media. We would urge anyone who meets the criteria to consider getting involved, as it is a positive thing you can be involved in that makes a real difference.