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NHS IP Guidance

The DH has published ’A Framework and Guidance (PDF) on the Management of Intellectual Property in the NHS‚ which became operational with Section 5 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 in September 2002.

In support of the NHS Plan, the Guidance extends the powers of the previous 1998 policy (PDF) on exploiting IP generated through Research & Development (R&D) to include IP generated by all NHS employees. This wsa a significant step in encouraging innovation within the NHS.

What does the Framework and Guidance say?

With 'generating wealth for better health' as its theme, the Framework and Guidance (PDF) encourages the NHS to develop innovations that can lead to new products, improved interventions and better services for health and social care. It supports the delivery of the NHS Plan.

It is intended principally for NHS Trusts and PCTs and their employees, but also provides advice for independent providers of NHS services, such as doctors, dentists and pharmacists whose IP could generate income for the NHS through commercial development.

Income generated by the successful IP exploitation is normally shared between the originating Trust, the inventor and the commercial partner.

The document is in line with cross-Government strategy to capture and exploit innovations for the benefit of the UK economy and supports the implementation of the Baker Report.

Section 5 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 allows NHS Trusts and PCTs to be innovative. Subject to the approval of a business case, it also empowers NHS bodies, through the Secretary of State, to become shareholds in spin-out companies set up to exploit IP. NHS employees who contribute to an invention exploited through a spin-out company may also hold shares if their employer is already a shareholder.

Transforming inventions into new products for the benefit of the health service is complex, and professional management of the associated IP is crucial. The regional NHS Innovation Hubs facilitate and manage this process on behalf of the Trusts.

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