Healthcare opportunities in India for British organisations and companies

By Nandini Saxena

Healthcare UK, the Government body to drive exports of UK health services, expertise and innovation, has helped British organisations to secure £750 million worth of healthcare contracts during 2014 to 2015, £250 million more than the target set for the year. They have identified a total of £12.7bn of opportunities in target markets in China, India, Brazil, the Gulf and similar countries.

The opportunities in India account for a comparatively small proportion of the £750 million of exports. But private hospitals and healthcare in India are expanding fast and state governments are preparing to tender more of their services as part of the quest for universal healthcare.

National healthcare expenditure in India is expected to grow at an average rate of 15.8% to reach a value of $201 billion by 2017. An ageing population means more long term conditions as well as the continuing need to combat communicable diseases. The Indian government has committed to delivering 100 “smart cities” and the healthcare component of these represent a great opportunity for British healthcare.

On trade missions and incoming visits, we have met several hospitals who want to offer UK inspired
training to their staff, for example, in emergency medicine and care, the human factors of clinical
care, primary care or specialist nurse training. Healthcare UK is working with Universities and other training providers to establish an effective and price sensitive offer to India.

Recent training and education opportunities include:

  • Family medicine training for a state government and for a private provider
  • Training needs assessment for a University
  • Setting up a College of Nursing and other Health Professionals for a state government
  • Consultancy in establishing and delivering a programme for critical care for private hospitals
  • Training and accreditation for doctors and allied professionals in a brand new private hospital
  • Collaboration on emergency medicine for a chain of smaller private hospitals
  • Dental training in India using UK standards and faculty
  • Diabetes training for family medicine doctors
  • Paramedic training from a private ambulance company
  • Training in counselling for a private provider

Healthcare uk 2DISSEMINATING EXPERTISE

There is huge interest in how to improve the quality and productivity of healthcare. Healthcare agencies
and organisations want to benefit from UK expertise in areas as diverse as cancer screening, ambulance
services, cloud based clinical records, remote radiology, assisted living and infection control.

For those with the appetite, there is the opportunity to set up a complete hospital operation in India with Indian investors. We hope to see the first of these “medical cities” projects launched this
year. And the scope for UK centres of excellence – such as the Christie Hospital – to tie-up with leading Indian healthcare institutions (mainly, but not exclusively, in the private sector) will, we hope, be one of the features of an increase in collaborative Indo-UK partnerships.

Another example has been Indian interest in services for children with mental health problems and the new developments around care and treatment – services for children with, for instance, behavioural and neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD or autism. It’s an issue of growing concern in India, which is only just beginning to get to grips with this type of condition, and with the need to fund extra training, research and education. We have at least one UK organisation which is considering setting up a local service in Mumbai.

DRIVING INNOVATION

Other discussions have focussed on setting up a network for research and development. India is
remarkably forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to healthcare, and has some truly worldclass
hospitals which want to partner with the UK. Collaborations in a range of areas have been discussed, including clinical research and healthcare delivery, but also high end services like complex liver transplants. There is also great interest from Indian hospitals in fertility treatment around new developments and training in the sector and Britain’s IVF units are ready to respond to these. Innovative technology is an area in which the UK is a recognised world leader – and it’s an area of interest shared by the Indian representatives that we meet.

Innovation is a strength of many UK companies, including in medical imaging, with new systems to look at the texture of medical images and provide quantative data. This offers another way for medics to assess cancerous tumours and the effect of treatment rather than simply relying on what their eye can see.
There are opportunities for specialist digital healthcare companies, developing systems to help monitor people’s health using smart phones. For example, Indian healthcare professionals are looking seriously at the increasing issue of excess alcohol consumption among their population and are interested in ways to measure alcohol intake and liver health.

There is enormous interest In India in how to improve the general cleanliness and hygiene in hospitals. British expertise can promote these improvements not through a specific cleaning product, but through the installation of easily cleanable materials, improved training for staff, and by using the best cleaning tools and monitoring systems.

The opportunities are there. Together we can turn these into excellent health services for patients in India, an exciting exchange of experience and expertise and sound commercial benefit for all concerned.


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