Launch of Healthcare UK will help British firms break into overseas markets
A new organisation is to be launched that will open up international markets for UK healthcare manufacturers.
Healthcare UK is a joint initiative between the Department of Health, NHS Commissioning Board and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and aims to boost the value of the UK’s trade in healthcare products and services.
Healthcare UK is good news for the UK economy, which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly-successful healthcare industries as they trade more across the globe
Speaking before the official launch at the Arab Health Congress in Dubai, Health Minister, Lord Lowe, said: “The UK is a world leader in healthcare, with unrivalled experience and expertise in meeting the health needs of a diverse population.
“Healthcare UK is good news for the UK economy, which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly-successful healthcare industries as they trade more across the globe. It also means more money for the NHS across the UK.”
Trade and investment minister, Lord Green, added: “The expansion of healthcare provision across the globe represents a significant trade opportunity to the UK – particularly in the big emerging economies like India, China and Brazil and the Middle East. Healthcare UK will deliver a step-change in the value of the UK’s exports in healthcare.”
The organisation will draw on an indepth knowledge of the UK’s health sector and will utilise UKTI’s network of professional advisers in nearly 100 countries to:
The organisation will be run by managing director, Howard Lyons, a healthcare expert who has worked in the NHS and private sector in Britain and overseas.
UKTI chief executive, Nick Baird, said: “Howard brings a great deal of international commercial healthcare experience and will provide the leadership to ensure that Healthcare UK supports the development of this developing export sector.”
The UK is a world leader in healthcare, with unrivalled experience and expertise in meeting the health needs of a diverse population
It is hoped that Healthcare UK will help both established and new firms to increase opportunities to trade overseas. Recent successes for UK companies have included the signing of a multi-million pound contract by Capita Symonds for the design review and construction supervision of a new hospital expansion project in Kuwait and Arup’s success in securing a major contract for the development of a children’s and women’s hospital in central China.
Lyons said: “Based on a 2011 survey, the US-based Commonwealth Fund ranked the UK alongside Switzerland as the best-performing health system among eleven high-income countries. Patients in the UK were consistently found to have more positive healthcare experiences than in the other countries, better access to same-day care and were less likely to experience poorly co-ordinated care; and this was in spite of the fact that per capita health spending in the UK is £1,000 per head less than Switzerland and nearly £3,000 less than the US.
“We really are the envy of the world and many foreign governments wish they knew our secret. In fact, their interest was re-ignited during the spectacular Olympic Games Opening Ceremony last July when the NHS and Great Ormond Street Hospital featured so prominently and unexpectedly. It coincided with London hosting a major global health conference attended by ministers of health and dignitaries from around the world. Many countries desperately want to know how best to meet the overwhelming challenges they face such as increases in non-communicable diseases and rapidly ageing populations. They also want to know how we in the UK provide such high-quality care for the whole population at such a relatively low cost.”
Many countries desperately want to know how best to meet the overwhelming challenges they face such as increases in non-communicable diseases and rapidly ageing populations. They also want to know how we in the UK provide such high-quality care for the whole population at such a relatively low cost
Commenting on the impact Healthcare UK will have, he added: “Each year the skills and knowledge of more than 1.5 million healthcare staff are used to develop innovative solutions to overcome challenges faced in the treatment of disease up and down the country. This has been going on since the establishment of the NHS 65 years ago and the resulting accumulation of accessible expertise is unrivalled anywhere in the world.
UK life sciences and academia have long been recognised as world leaders and institutions representing those industries have successfully marketed their services and products overseas. But emerging nations like China, India, Brazil and some Middle East countries also need effective systems to meet the needs of their growing and increasingly impatient populations and are looking to the UK for assistance.
“Healthcare UK is being established as a joint venture between the Department of Health, UKTI and the NHS Commissioning Board to act as a portal for the rest of the world to access UK expertise – especially in primary care, digital health, large infrastructure projects, training and education, systems development and performance improvement. In return, the UK health industry, including the NHS and commercial sectors, will through Healthcare UK be able to identify international opportunities to share their know-how in high value projects and, in so doing, capitalise on the investment we make each year in funding our own health system.”