UK NHS to expand in the global market

Health Secretary Andy Burnham says the NHS could generate additional funding from other countries and organisations using its knowledge. As the largest publicly funded health system in the world, the NHS is home to groundbreaking treatments, cutting edge research and a hub of innovation. It is now looking to explore new international opportunities to export its knowledge, skills and services.

There is increasing demand from Governments and organisations abroad to share knowledge, provide services, or even replicate parts of the NHS.  A new organisation, NHS Global, will help NHS organisations to make the most of the global opportunities on offer. NHS Global will build on the success of NHS organisations already sharing their expertise internationally, such as the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, and Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The Department of Health has begun preliminary work with NHS organisations and will launch a call across the system for further ideas to be submitted for consideration by NHS Global.  It will also consult with NHS staff and stakeholders on how to ensure that NHS Global maximises benefit for patients in the UK.

Andy Burnham said,” Every year we invest over £100 billion in our NHS.  The NHS uses that money to provide high quality healthcare at home, but there is great potential to benefit from the exceptional knowledge and intelligence within the NHS. NHS Global demonstrates that the NHS now has the confidence and capacity to play a greater role on the world stage.  However, there is still much more that we can do and demand for NHS knowledge far outstrips supply.  The NHS must make the most of these international opportunities. A key part of responding to the economic challenge that the NHS faces will be realising the full potential of innovation, not only making effective use of our knowledge and skills at home, but also making money abroad that can be reinvested back into the NHS.”

Sir David Nicholson of the NHS added,’ The NHS provides high quality health services to patients every day.  International demand for knowledge, skills and services developed in the NHS is growing.  What we need is a more systematic approach to supporting NHS organisations in making the most of these opportunities and bringing benefits back to the NHS and the taxpayer.  NHS Global provides us with the opportunity to take a significant step forward in making this happen.”

NHS Global will be able to remove barriers, provide technical and commercial support and help the NHS to get best value for the knowledge and skills it holds in a way that does not affect frontline services at home, by acting as a central contact point for countries interested in doing business with the NHS.  It will support the NHS in a range of business functions, including:
• Identifying commercial opportunities in the NHS;
• Generating demand in international markets;
• Brokering partnerships between NHS organisations and overseas customers;
• Identifying potential legal issues and risks;
• Marketing and communications.

The Department of Health will consult on an operating model for NHS Global in the coming months and subject to the outcome of this consultation, expects to launch NHS Global in the summer.