The Scalpel's Blog

28.11.18

Prof Sir Malcolm Grant: Globally exporting the NHS

Source: NHE Nov/Dec 2018

The NHS must export its services and expertise to protect its lead as the global healthcare market explodes, argues Professor Sir Malcolm Grant CBE, outgoing chair of NHS England.

We’re at a turning point in history as global healthcare cost and demand rise – due not only to the increase in ageing populations with complex conditions, but also to a huge expansion of the middle classes in countries such as India and China.

For instance, using a fitting medium for 2018, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley tweeted that his country is witnessing “an expansion of the neo-middle class” following  the announcement of its highest GDP growth figures in two years. 

It’s not just India. Washington research group The Brookings Institution says 140 million people across the globe are reaching the middle-class category annually, a rate which could rise to 170 million by 2022.

The potential threat – and opportunity – for the NHS is clear. As the global middle classes grow, they create demand for healthcare and the capacity to pay for it. Worldwide spending on healthcare is increasing by 7% annually. We should expect that the people and skills the NHS relies upon to maintain its excellent care will be drawn towards growing markets around the world.

But changing global demographics also present huge opportunities for our health service.

Many countries are at the early stages in developing large-scale healthcare. They face the same challenges the NHS has grappled with over many decades. In particular, that better living conditions, better medical procedures and drug efficacy mean a steady increase in longevity, leading to growing demand and expectation for high-quality healthcare – with commensurate growth in costs.

But developing nations don’t have decades to understand and overcome these challenges. They need help now to leapfrog their existing limitation to create services fit for the 21st century.

The NHS model fosters innovation, and many trusts have developed unique services which have global applicability. Many – especially tertiary trusts – already have a strong global presence. They also compete for the highest-quality staff and research on the world stage and train practitioners from around the world. But the approach can extend well beyond those trusts.

I believe that all NHS trusts not only have the capability, but also the responsibility to develop strategies to export their expertise and services, even – and arguably especially – when they are under severe pressures in maintaining vital services at home.

The NHS is an extraordinary brand and is internationally renowned. There is great demand for healthcare expertise across the world. American hospitals, consultancies and healthcare systems have already focused on these opportunities. As many trusts have already demonstrated, the NHS can be an exemplary competitor. To have a product or service that is NHS kitemarked is a powerful route to market. Extending NHS expertise to the world through export is not only entirely practicable, but also potentially of great financial benefit. We have huge assets of expertise and experience that can be deployed well beyond our shores, helping to bring about a much-needed revolution in healthcare internationally while earning revenue to support our performance nationally.

And the NHS has reach. Other countries still evolving their systems have the opportunity to leapfrog many of the processes, discoveries and advances in healthcare the NHS has overseen. They can adopt swiftly and cheaply the new technologies that will in due course underpin healthcare everywhere, including advanced mobile communications, data analytics, and AI-assisted diagnostics. The development of mobile day surgery in India, building on ubiquitous mobile data networks, is a good example.

Talent and research

We can be sure that recruitment and retention of staff will also benefit. Extending the reach of the NHS through exporting provides new opportunities for talented people.

The same is true for research. Research that brings benefits to patients only thrives on a global level. International collaboration already underpins most research breakthroughs, and a trust whose leadership has international vision can be an active participant, and leader, in this world. And export collaboration with the many innovative UK small and medium businesses active in the healthcare arena – as we have demonstrated annually at NHS Expo – holds out great promise for all partners in terms of impact and returns.

But none of this is suited to amateur adventure. Expert support and advice is available that is specifically tailored to NHS bodies. Healthcare UK, which is a public body, has developed a service, Export Catalyst, to help NHS trusts access global healthcare opportunities. It helps assess risks in incomes, expenditure and investment for more trusts to follow the lead of well-known trusts into the global market.

Healthcare UK is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, but it sits with the Department for International Trade.

With access to the UK’s network of embassies and consulates around the world, it can target markets which have a need for our health and life science expertise. It can find and validate opportunities for export and match them to UK service providers. It will also be proactive in supporting the commercial process through creating proposal, assisting in negotiations and helping to close deals.

And it’s already doing well: Healthcare UK achieved over £700m of export wins last year, supporting more than 100 exports projects for private and public UK suppliers in 17 countries. With the help of Export Catalyst, the NHS will be ready to target up to £7bn of opportunities a year over the next decade.

The time is right – globally – for a sharp upturn in this activity.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Two NHS trusts spent a third of the year on highest ‘Opel 4’ pressure alert

12/12/2018Two NHS trusts spent a third of the year on highest ‘Opel 4’ pressure alert

Two NHS trusts spent more than a third of the year under extreme pressure and on the highest level of alert. An investigation by the BBC fou... more >
Financially struggling NHS trust appoints fifth chief executive in just five years

12/12/2018Financially struggling NHS trust appoints fifth chief executive in just five years

The financially troubled West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has appointed Christen Allen as its newest chief executive – marking its fi... more >
Quarter of trusts spent no money on cyber security last year as NHS’s ‘alarming’ cyber training inconsistencies revealed

12/12/2018Quarter of trusts spent no money on cyber security last year as NHS’s ‘alarming’ cyber training inconsistencies revealed

One in four NHS trusts in England and Wales are spending no money on specialist cyber security or training and trusts are consistently failing to... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond doubt or dispute, other than in government, that the NHS is inadequately funded. Even the secretary of state has argued that it will need more mon... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

The robots are here at East Suffolk and North Essex

12/12/2018The robots are here at East Suffolk and North Essex

Lauren Hockney, senior communications officer at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS FT (ESNEFT), outlines how her trust is embracing the digital and automation revolution. Robots have arrived at the ESNEFT, and they are giving back hundreds of hours to staff so they can spend more time helping patients. The trust, which includes Colche... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >
332 304x150 NHE Callout banner.

comment

Creating a volunteer 'passport'

12/12/2018Creating a volunteer 'passport'

By utilising the health service’s volunteers, we can deliver better care for everyone, argues Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical project lead at Hel... more >
Right people, right place, right now

12/12/2018Right people, right place, right now

Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, raises concerns around the mental health workforce and shares some best practice from ... more >
Breaking down barriers to integration

12/12/2018Breaking down barriers to integration

Anne Marie Morris, member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and MP for Newton Abbott, outlines the committee’s recent report on the ba... more >
An attack on them is an attack on us all

12/12/2018An attack on them is an attack on us all

Chris Bryant MP discusses the new law he championed that came into effect in September, which doubles jail time for anyone who assaults emergency... more >

health service focus

View all News

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >