Back in June, I was privileged to accompany Sir Malcolm Grant, the chairman of NHS England, our new Managing Director Deborah Kobewka and 23 British organisations on a visit to India under the theme of “Smart Healthcare”. The delegation of leading NHS hospital trusts and pioneering British companies visited New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai in a week. Our goal when planning this mission was to make healthcare an area where PM Modi’s comment "India and the UK make an unbeatable combination" fully applies.
We are certainly well on the way to this, judging by the interest generated both amongst potential business partners and the India media, who took the opportunity to interview Sir Malcolm on the goals for the mission, how the UK and India could collaborate for mutual benefit and what the NHS can offer.
Deborah, participating in her first mission since taking over the reins at Healthcare UK, reflected that missions such as this are a superb way of getting a deeper understanding of the needs of Indian healthcare providers and policy makers. It becomes much clearer how solutions can be adapted to meet those needs by having the chance for face-to-face discussions. She spoke about a number of areas where the UK’s expertise is of great interest to Indian healthcare providers.
An impressive number – around 400 – of influential Indian healthcare leaders representing both private companies and the public sector accepted a personal invitation from the High Commission to attend events during the mission. We organised a “Smart Healthcare Demonstrator” in New Delhi and Mumbai to enable the British organisations to showcase their expertise, technology and innovation and engage with potential business partners.
We captured the reflections of Gary Impett of Capita Health Decisions and Dr Alex Lewis and Dr Pramod Prabhakaran of Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust on their experience of the mission and working with Indian partners.
Sir Malcolm Grant’s participation was extremely valuable. Top officials from the Union Health Ministry met with him in New Delhi. He led a roundtable with representatives from leading hospitals in north India. In Mumbai he opened the demonstrator with the health minister from Maharashtra, and representative from Apollo Hospitals, Mr. Deepak Sawant and Dr. Pratap Reddy.
Sangita Reddy, the Executive Director of Apollo Hospitals shared her views on Indo UK collaboration.
India has been a priority for Healthcare UK since we were established in 2013 and all the visits I’ve made with companies since then show that the opportunities in India for British healthcare are expanding all the time.
Not only is India’s investment in their healthcare system increasing, but India and UK are working ever more closely together. The two countries have put in place a bilateral agreement to underpin collaboration in healthcare. India’s plan for 100 smart cities has a goal to provide accessible, affordable and effective healthcare system for more than 1.2 billion citizens. Our heritage and experience of universal healthcare provided by the NHS has a lot to offer India in this endeavour, especially as the NHS is seeking new approaches to support affordable yet world class services with its 5 Year Forward View. We are both implementing smart healthcare to achieve these goals, harnessing the potential of digital solutions.
Linked to the Smart Cities initiative, the Indo UK Institutes of Health project now has King’s College Hospital as the strategic partner for the first of the planned 11 institutes. The UK and Indian governments have set up an implementation taskforce to ensure closer collaboration and speedy implementation of these and other healthcare projects.
These aim to bring the UK’s finest universities, companies and NHS organisations to India, an opportunity we are committed to accelerating.
As always with our missions, the work done when we get home is vital for success. The delegates are now actively engaged in following up the contacts made during the mission. We at Healthcare UK and our UKTI India colleagues are using social media to promote the UK’s expertise in India and we will vigorously support our companies to secure business with Indian partners in the coming months.
Healthcare UK is here to assist British organisations – both public and private – to develop international business in a range of priority markets, including India, China, the Middle East, Turkey, Brazil and Latin America. We will be delighted to hear from you to explore how we can help.