NHS innovation partner InnoScot Health has welcomed a new UK Government regulatory roadmap for medical devices – with legislation timetabled for next year.

The organisation, which works with NHS boards across Scotland to stimulate innovation, said the framework published on January 9 was an “encouraging” development.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) lays out the intended timelines for implementation of the UK’s future core regulations across the next two years. 

With the UK government planning to “ensure that there is a proportionate, phased approach to the implementation of the future regulatory framework,” the roadmap is designed to offer greater visibility and enhance the UK’s ability to benefit from rapidly advancing medical technology. 

The government also aims to “support system readiness and minimise the risk of supply disruption for UK patients” while helping businesses to plan out their regulatory approach in the early stages of the development process. 

Priority measures intended to protect patient safety and accessibility are expected to be implemented this year, with the core regulations of the new framework then planned to be in place by 2025. 

The plans are further designed to deliver greater alignment with international regulatory requirements, helping to ease the complexity of navigating post-Brexit processes while focusing on a more patient-centred approach that is agile and responsive to technological innovation, including cybersecurity requirements for software as a medical device including artificial intelligence (AI). 

Elaine Gemmell, head of regulatory affairs at InnoScot Health, said: “It is encouraging to see MHRA proactively sharing this information for better visibility of the planned UK process. It should help to clarify how and when closer alignment with EU requirements will achieved. 

“The new roadmap represents another important step towards easier navigation of the regulatory pathway for getting medical device innovation safely into patients’ hands and for that, it is to be welcomed. 

“Organisations innovating in increasingly technologically advanced medical devices should particularly stand to benefit from the foresight which this provides for their own regulatory planning. 

“The roadmap can also help to heighten innovation and economic growth, while encouraging UK businesses to target global expansion. 

“Progress is undoubtedly being made, but with so much to consider in this complex area, it remains beneficial to seek out the right advice and expertise in order to navigate the process successfully and ensure compliance.” 

Dr Laura Squire, the MHRA’s medtech regulatory reform lead and chief officer healthcare, quality and access said: The roadmap sets out how we will work with stakeholders including patients as the process moves forward, giving early sight of what is to come and giving us feedback about the guidance they will need, to ensure the successful implementation of these wide-ranging UK reforms.”