The UK healthcare system is considered on many criteria to be the best in the world.
Now that’s probably what you’d expect the new Managing Director of Healthcare UK to say. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what others say.
Based on a 2011 survey, the US-based Commonwealth Fund ranked the UK alongside Switzerland as the best performing health system amongst 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 £1000 per head less than Switzerland and nearly £3000 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.
Healthcare UK is intended to facilitate that process enabling governments to access British know-how and expertise. Each year the skills and knowledge of over 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.
The official launch of Healthcare UK is due to take place at Arab Health in Dubai on 29th January. It will not only be a great occasion to showcase the reasons why healthcare in the UK is so widely respected but will also highlight the means by which foreign governments, private sector providers and international financial institutions can now access the UK healthcare expertise they covet.