United Kingdom Report
UK healthcare consolidates after major structural reform
UK Healthcare has been through a period
of consolidation over the last 12 months
after undergoing a number of major structural
changes in 2013.
Many of the changes over the last 12
months have been driven by radical government
policies which placed innovation
and early technology adoption at the heart
of healthcare delivery in the UK.
These changes, designed to foster healthcare
innovation, have developed in parallel
with a major transformation in the organisation
of the NHS, with the commissioning of
services moving to the new GP-led Clinical
Commissioning Groups (CCGs) supported
by Commissioning Support Units.
The drivers for change have been borne
out of challenges felt across the globe – the
ageing demographic, growth in long term
chronic disease, enhanced patient expectations,
and of course, the need to contain
costs at a time when economies continue
to face huge pressures.
And whilst these challenges remain, the NHS has further enhanced its standing as
the world’s leading healthcare system in a major international survey – matched
well-supported Life Sciences sector which
is thriving in a challenging global market.
Arguably the biggest change in UK healthcare
service delivery in recent times – the
shift in responsibility of primary care in
England from Strategic Health Authorities
and Primary Care Trusts – is now one
year in to its reign.
This change came about from the UK
Government’s White Paper, ‘Equity and
Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ which
outlined radical reform to the way healthcare
is delivered in the UK; one of the
central principles being that community
based General Practitioners (GPs) take
responsibility for budgets and commissioning
Transforming innovative ideas and
goodwill into operational realities that
deliver the outcomes patients and populations
need will be critical for CCGs in
their second year in order to meet the longer
term challenges. The direction of travel is pointing towards
a more patient-centred approach –
with a very clear focus on moving from a
treatment-based culture, to an agenda of
prevention and patient self-management.
NHS leading the way
The NHS has been declared the best
healthcare system by an international
panel of experts who rated its care superior
to countries which spend far more on
The report has been produced by the
Commonwealth Fund, a Washingtonbased
foundation which is respected
around the world for its analysis of the performance
of different countries’ health systems.
It examined evidence about performance
in 11 countries, including detailed
data from patients, doctors and the World
The fund’s researchers concluded that
the United Kingdom ranks first overall,
scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency.
In the Commonwealth Fund study
the UK came first out of the 11 countries in eight of the 11 measures of care.
awarded top place on measures including
providing effective care, safe care, co-ordinated
care and patient-centred care.
UK Life Sciences
George Freeman, a Conservative MP and
former healthcare entrepreneur, was appointed
in July as the UK’s first Life Sciences minister,
an endorsement of the government’s
desire to promote this thriving sector.
The appointment of George Freeman
MP was followed later in the year by the
announcement that Britain’s life sciences
industry is on course to raise its most financing
in 2014 for at least seven years,
in a sign that government efforts to promote
investment in the sector are beginning
to pay off.
UK companies raised £734m of capital
in the first half of this year, surpassing the
£483m raised in the whole of 2013, making
it the top European destination for life
The UK Government’s 2013 annual
Strengths and Opportunities report –
which collates information on the medical
technology, medical biotechnology industrial
biotechnology and pharmaceutical
sectors in the UK – provides very encouraging
Based on information in the report, the
life sciences sector in the UK consists of 4,980 companies.
In total the sector
176,000 people in high technology
companies across the UK and the industry
sells into a global industry with current
total market values of £612bn for pharmaceutical
and biologics, £223bn for medical
technology and £32bn for the rapidly
growing industrial biotechnology market.
These markets have historical strong
growth rates and forecast rates are 8-10%
Life science companies based
and operating in the UK generate £52bn
in turnover from sales into the UK and overseas and this represents
6% of the world market sales.
These figures provide positive reading
against the Government’s Strategy
for UK Life Sciences.
has continued to invest in research in
the Life Sciences sector, with the Innovate
UK (formally Technology Strategy
Board) and Medical Research Councils
Biomedical Catalyst Fund, and NHS
England SBRI awards supporting new
collaborations to deliver solutions to priority
unmet clinical needs.
Working in partnership
Government strategies adopted in 2013 have continued to emphasise
the importance of partnership working with the private
sector. Major initiatives arising from the UK Government’s ‘Innovation
Health and Wealth’ policy include the creation of Academic
Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and the launch of a
new funding mechanism for health technology innovation – the
Biomedical Catalyst Fund.
AHSNs are charged with bringing together the NHS, academia,
industry and other major stakeholders to improve the identification,
uptake and spread of innovation in the NHS, whilst also
improving international linkages.
The networks represent a cultural shift in the NHS, with
a recognition that service delivery can only be transformed
through the rapid adoption of new technologies and that this
requires the strategic participation of the UK Life Sciences business
community – the focus being on improving the UK’s health
The Biomedical Catalyst Fund, an Innovate UK and Medical
Research Council programme, provides significant funding
for the seamless translation of ideas to commercialisation (up
to £2.4m for early stage and up to £2.4m for late stage) to derisk
new product propositions making them more attractive to
Another major initiative launched last year and now making
real strides is Healthcare UK – a joint initiative between UK
Trade & Investment and the Department of Health – to help
NHS organisations to do business overseas.
This is being achieved through strategic promotion of the UK
healthcare sector to overseas markets and supporting healthcare
partnerships between the UK and overseas healthcare providers.
The AHSN network has provided a seamless interface between
individual NHS trusts and their skills and capabilities, relevant to
specific international markets.
The year ahead – Life Sciences taking centre stage
The UK is now arguably better placed to confront the challenges
which affect global healthcare systems, addressing the rising costs
of healthcare delivery whilst meeting the increased expectations
The UK General Election in 2015 will see healthcare come
into sharp focus – with all of the major political parties recognising
this as a key manifesto item.
The future NHS will be characterised as a system and workforce
that is focused on outcomes, and a public that takes more
responsibility for its own healthcare, no matter who has the
With UK political and public will pointing firmly to the issue
of improved healthcare delivery, the NHS, alongside its ambitious
Life Sciences sector, is well placed to improve the innovation
health and wealth of the nation.
l For further information visit: www.medilinkuk.com
Single keyhole surgery for lung cancer
Consultants at Royal Brompton and
Harefield Hospitals are using a new form
of keyhole surgery for lung cancer, using
just one small incision – instead of three
or more separate incisions. Our surgical
team believes that this may result in less
pain, less scarring, reduced recovery time
and increased mobility post operation.
Conventional surgery for lung cancer is
performed through a fairly large cut in the
back of the chest and involves spreading the
ribs to remove the diseased section of lung.
The introduction of multiple hole keyhole
surgery is already thought to allow
for a more rapid recovery and return to
normal life in those patients suitable for
Traditionally this type of
surgery has involved making three or four
small cuts to the chest, through which a
telescopic camera and surgical tools are
inserted to examine the lungs and remove
the affected areas.
An improved technique pioneered by Consultant Thoracic Surgeons, Mr Eric
Lim and Mr Simon Jordan at Royal Brompton
Hospital, allows surgeons to perform
keyhole surgery through just one incision
less than three finger breadths. The entire
operation is performed through this access
Apart from standard lobectomy
procedures, more complex operations have
also been done with this single port keyhole
surgery including segmentectomy,
lung resection with chest wall resection,
revision surgery and sleeve resection (removing
part of the airway and reconstructing
the two ends back together to restore
airway to minimise loss of lung function).
Although keyhole surgery is gradually
gaining in popularity in the UK, it still
remains relatively uncommon, accounting
for less than 14% of lung cancer operations
performed in 2010.
In contrast, consultants
at Royal Brompton and Harefield
Hospitals performed over 133 keyhole procedures
between 2010 and 2013 and are minimally invasive surgeons at the Royal
Brompton Hospital are able to perform
over 60% of conventional lung cancer resections
using this new technique, through
a single keyhole.
Next year, Mr Eric Lim will be leading a UK-wide clinical trial that compares
keyhole surgery with conventional open chest surgery to further define
the relative benefits and answer important questions on outcomes.
of upload: 14th Nov 2014