By Gareth Iacobucci
Former health minister Lord Ara Darzi is to spearhead the NHS’s expansion into the global healthcare market to generate extra revenue to reinvest back into frontline services.
Launching the NHS Global project today alongside prime minister Gordon Brown, health secretary Andy Burnham said the scheme could generate ‘significant’ funds for the NHS by following in the footsteps of BBC Worldwide, and exploiting a world-renowned UK brand to gain a commercial foothold in foreign markets.
The Government said the organisation will act as a central contact point for countries interested in doing business with the NHS, 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’.
The scheme will support the NHS in areas such as identifying commercial opportunities, generating demand in international markets, brokering partnerships with overseas customers, and identifying potential legal issues and risks.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: ‘NHS Global is exploring how we can export the UK’s excellence in health to generate income for the NHS. We are ready to work in partnership with other countries to support the development of their health services as we develop ours.’
Health secretary Andy Burnham said: ‘We know that BBC Worldwide has already had success in this area, and now the NHS, another of this country’s best-loved institutions, 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.’
Professor Lord Ara Darzi, now UK Global Health and Life Sciences Ambassador, said: ‘There is significant international demand for NHS products and knowledge and it is important that NHS organisations are supported in making the most of this opportunity.’
The Government plans to launch a consultation on the proposals in the coming months, to invite NHS staff to come forward with suggestions for innovations to take to a global audience.
The ex-health minister is to spearhead the global expansion of the NHS Lord Darzi