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Money-spinning scheme to sell NHS abroad fails to win single contract

Exclusive A flagship Government initiative spearheaded by Lord Darzi and designed to sell health expertise abroad has failed to secure a single contract in the 18 months since its launch, Pulse can reveal.

NHS Global was launched with much fanfare in March 2010 by previous health secretary Andy Burnham, who said it could generate ‘significant' funds for the NHS by following the BBC Worldwide model of exploiting a UK brand abroad.

Just last month, Mark Britnell, former director general of commissioning at the Department of Health and chair of health practice at KPMG, claimed the scheme could earn at least £50bn for the NHS, by exporting models including UK general practice and NICE.

Ministers had set out plans to invest profits in patient care to help the NHS meet its daunting £20bn efficiency targets.

But the DH has revealed no deals have been signed through NHS Global, despite spending thousands on managers' time and hiring consultancy firm Deloitte to carry out ‘initial scoping and analysis of the international healthcare market'.

A DH spokesperson said it had spent £75,000 on establishing and maintaining NHS Global: ‘To date no contracts have been signed and no money earned. An international visit has yet to take place with the purpose of promoting NHS Global.'

In an editorial in the Times, Mr Britnell said the NHS could make billions by advising on, designing and building new hospitals in China based on the public/private template, and by opening hospital chains across the Middle East to compete in the medical tourism market.

Dr Dermot Ryan, a GP in Loughborough, said: ‘Presumably this means other health economies have looked at it how we have been busy dismantling the NHS. We have seen massive inefficiencies build up within the system. They will be observing from afar the political interference and managerial incompetence.'