Santa’s little helpers
As the New Year approaches, is this a time of festive cheer or winter chills for the medical technologies industry?
There is positive news for the future: as we reported last month, Lord Darzi has announced the formation of a new Health Innovation Council, backed by £100m of funding to support the uptake of new medical technologies into the NHS.
This month, we report on the Government’s decision to scrap six planned schemes for franchising NHS care to private sector health providers, and to cancel an existing scheme due to “unacceptably low rates of use”. However, another ten new schemes have been green-lighted, and Alan Johnson states there has been “no change” in the NHS reform agenda.
What’s going on there? In our lead article, Thoreya Swage considers the growing role of the private sector in NHS healthcare provision, and argues that local control and patient choice are providing it with selective avenues into the NHS system. Private companies cannot expect healthcare franchises to be handed to them on a plate, after the model of rail privatisation. They have to earn their place as health providers.
Swage also argues, perhaps controversially, that this internalisation of the private sector competitive dynamic will strengthen the NHS against its insurance-based competitors. A return to Victorian values in healthcare is not yet on the cards. None the less, the transition of the NHS from provider to commissioner is already under way, and those judging it not enough of a change will lose touch as rapidly as those judging it too much of one.
To underline the message that the new NHS has its own commercial structures and requirements, our interview with a Clinical Procurement Specialist emphasises the need for healthcare sales professionals to engage with hospital procurement departments, which provide the link between the Collaborative Procurement Hubs and the clinicians. Why bring your presents down the chimney when you can save time and energy by finding the door? While you’re at it, make sure your reindeer are in training for some long flights. As our report from Medica 2007 shows, UK medtech companies are finding a global market for their innovative solutions. This year, the world’s biggest healthcare exhibition highlighted applications of digital and wireless technology. A fuller report is available on our website at www.ontargetmag.com.
New technology, new customers, new healthcare models… there’s plenty to fill your Christmas stocking, and On Target will bring you the most of medtech future. But if you’d rather declare “Bah humbug” to all that, the only technology you’ll need is a nightcap with a candle on it. Either way, we at Elf Sector Publishing wish you the very best of the festive season.
This year we will be making a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support instead of sending cards.
|Chris Ross||Joel Lane|