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Healthcare UK launches to sell NHS expertise abroad

Will provide services to international private and public healthcare providers

Healthcare UK launch
(left to right: Howard Lyons, Lord Howe and Lord Darzi launch Healthcare UK at the Arab Health Congress)

Countries across the world will be able to purchase access to the UK's healthcare expertise, including the NHS, through a new government-backed organisation.

Launched at the Arab Health Congress in Dubai as a joint initiative between the Department of Health, the NHS Commissioning Board and UK Trade and Investment, Healthcare UK will act as link between both public and private healthcare providers abroad and the NHS and commercial providers in the UK.

It is hoped that in addition improving global healthcare services, the scheme will raise money for the UK's health system – a pressing need as the NHS attempts to cut £20bn from its budget by 2015.

UK health minister Lord Howe, who helped launch the programme, said: “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.

He added: “It also means more money for the NHS across the UK.”

On top of its duties as a gateway to UK health services, Healthcare UK is also tasked with boosting the profile of the UK's health sector overseas in target markets, including India, China, Brazil and the Middle East.

Its mission was aided by London hosting the Olympic Games last year, according to Healthcare UK's managing director Howard Lyons.

In a recent blog post he said: “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.”

Elsewhere in the blog, Lyons' also noted the UK's international performance in healthcare as a reason for interest in its expertise, stating that the Commonwealth Fund ranked the UK alongside Switzerland as the best performing health system amongst eleven high-income countries.

Healthcare UK will also have a proactive role in identifying international opportunities in healthcare, and it also intends to form consortia of UK organisations to come up with solutions for large-scale challenges in healthcare.

Its launch follows steps from several UK healthcare organisations to expand into other countries. These include a partnership between pharmacy firm Alliance Boots and US chain Walgreens, as well as an agreement between Sheffield Hallam University and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health for Kuwaiti-based nurses to receive training in the UK.

31st January 2013

From: Healthcare

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