The NHS is to sell its brand around the world as part of a new venture to make the service more commercial and reinvest the profits in Britain’s national health system.
Healthcare UK, a new body to be launched this autumn, will act as a go-between linking leading hospitals with potential clients overseas who want to buy in expertise from British clinicians. Potential markets involve the Middle East, which already buys some UK health services, as well as India, China and Brazil.
There is a precedent for British hospitals exporting their skills, since Moorfields, the London eye hospital, has established private operations in Dubai and Imperial has an outpost in the United Arab Emirates. However, the new body will formalize the process and be overseen by a board comprising officials from the Department of Health, UK Trade and Investment as well as the NHS commissioning board. Exports could range from consultancy services to new branches of UK hospitals.
Anne Milton, health minister, said the initiative was “good news” for NHS patients who will get better services at their local hospital as a result of the work the NHS is doing abroad and the extra investment it will generate.
“This is also good news for the economy which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly successful life sciences industries as they trade more across the globe,” Ms Milton added. “The NHS has a world-class reputation, and this exciting development will make the most of that to deliver real benefits for both patients and taxpayers.”