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NHS private sector schemes fail ‘value’ test

 SIX PLANNED SCHEMES to franchise NHS services to private sector companies have been scrapped as failing to demonstrate good prospective value.

An existing NHS private sector project to deliver mobile diagnostics has been cancelled due to insufficient use.

The Government has approved 10 new NHS private sector projects, however, and Health Secretary Alan Johnson denies any change in the NHS reform policy.

The projects that will not go ahead are: North East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Referral Assessment Diagnostics and Treatment Service; North East Diagnostics; South East Diagnostics; Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge Electives; Cumbria and Lancashire Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services; and Lymington in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Electives.

The DH will also terminate Care UK’s mobile diagnostic service for the West Midlands, which was launched in June to provide 200,000 diagnostic procedures per year. Mr Johnson said the service had “unacceptably low rates of use”.

He added: “The reduction in the overall size of the procurement does not represent a change in policy. New providers have been instrumental in helping the NHS slash waiting times.” Mr Johnson also announced the approval of 10 new NHS private sector schemes.

Richard Jones, chairman of the NHS Partners Network, commented: “We are naturally disappointed that the scale of the next stage of this programme is going to be smaller than originally planned.”

Creating a wound care brand

BRAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY Brand Create has been hired by global medtech company KCI (Kinetic Concepts Inc.) to create an international ad campaign for its new wound care products.

Brand Create’s campaign, aimed at healthcare professionals, will reposition KCI’s Vacuum Assisted Closure® Therapy technology in the marketplace as an across-the-board treatment for acute and non-acute wounds.

Within this brand, two next-generation products to be launched by KCI are InfoV.A.C.® (for the hospital) and ActiV.A.C.® (for the home and transition from hospital to home). The hospitalto- home transition market is an increasingly important one.

Brand Create’s ads will appear in healthcare and general journals over 2007/2008. The campaign has four strands: effective therapy, healthcare economics, hospital-to-home transition and user-friendly technology.

In the hospital-to-home transition strand, a series of images show patients in normal home settings – for example, working in the garden. “The advertising concept arose from meeting some recovered patients and getting to understand that a hard-to-heal wound really messes about with quality of life, not just for the patient but for friends and family,” said Michael Dumigan, Managing Director of Brand Create.

London-based Brand Create is part of the Core-Create Group. For more information, visit www.brandcreate.com.

Olympus snaps up Gyrus Group

OLYMPUS, THE JAPANESE digital camera group, has purchased UK medical devices company Gyrus Group for £935 million.

The deal establishes Olympus as a leading player in the global medical technology market, and reflects the growing interest of Japanese imaging businesses in the medical devices market.

The new combined business, Olympus said, will be a medical devices specialist. The company is already the world’s leading maker of endoscopes, with a 70% global market share.

Gyrus is based in Cardiff, and specialises in radio-frequency devices used for visualisation in keyhole surgical procedures. The deal still requires approval from Gyrus shareholders, and from antitrust authorities in the UK and the US.

Brian Steer, chairman of Gyrus, said that there were clear synergies between the two companies that, combined with the substantial premium price, presented an “outstanding opportunity” for shareholders.

“The market for minimally invasive surgical systems is seeing double-digit growth annually and is very promising for the future,’’ said Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, President of Olympus.

A goal worth scoring

   A SUPPLIER OF SCANNERS for sports professionals is among the winners of the 2007 Medilink West Midlands Medical Technology Awards.

The award ceremony, held at the Council House in Birmingham, recognised five of the region’s 1300 medical technology enterprises for their outstanding business accomplishments.

The Start-up award was won by Aston Academy of Life Sciences Day Hospital, which provides musculo- skeletal scanning facilities to Premiership footballers and Olympic athletes.

Eco-Logic UK, which supplies one-touch and touch-free controls for basins and baths, won the Best Growth in Sector prize. E-Medix, a surgical instrument company, won the prize for Export Achievement.

The world’s second largest manufacturer of stairlifts, Minivator, won the Innovation award. Surgical training company Wetlab won the prize for Partnership With the NHS.

Stand-up comic and GP Dr Phil Hammond, who presented the awards, emphasised the power of innovation to change people’s thinking.

MedilinkWM’s Communications Director, Michelle Dalton, said: “These awards are an excellent chance to celebrate the huge variety of skills, expertise and experience in this sector.”

The winners now go on to compete with other regional winners for the Medilink National Medical Technology Awards, to be announced at MEDTECH UK in February 2008.

Johnson & Johnson integrates its parts

JOHNSON & JOHNSON (J&J) is to create three new units in order to accelerate business growth and extend its commercial scope.

J&J subsidiaries concerned with medical devices and diagnostics will be integrated into two groups targeting the surgery and longterm conditions markets respectively. A new Office of Strategy and Growth will highlight growth opportunities in new areas for the company.

The J&J Surgical Care Group will focus on technologies and services in the surgical area. The Comprehensive Care Group will develop portfolios to treat long-term conditions such as diabetes.

William C. Weldon, J&J’s Chairman and CEO, explained: “Much of the change in healthcare reflects the coming together of parts of the system that were at one time separate. The very solutions that the healthcare system most needs – those coming from the convergence of science, technology and services – are the ones we are most capable of providing.”

The J&J franchises making up the Surgical Care Group will include Ethicon, Ethicon Endo-Surgery and DePuy. Ethicon’s current Chairman, Sherilyn S. McCoy, will become Worldwide Chairman, Surgical Care.

The subsidiaries making up the Comprehesive Care Group will include Diabetes, Cordis and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. Donald M. Casey, Jr., currently Chairman for the Diabetes franchise that includes LifeScan and Animas, will become Worldwide Chairman, Comprehensive Care.

These changes will become effective on January 1, 2008.


Spire Healthcare reaches for the sky

  SPIRE HEALTHCARE has been unveiled as the new independent healthcare group formed from the sale of BUPA Hospitals to private equity company Cinven.

Spire Hospital signs have gone up outside the 25 UK hospitals previously owned by the BUPA Group.

In addition to private and insured patients, NHS patients can now be treated at Spire Hospitals through the Government’s Choose and Book scheme.

Spire’s Chief Executive, Clare Hollingsworth, said: “Becoming a standalone private healthcare company, separate from BUPA, will give us greater freedom to develop our business and offer more services to more people.

“We deliberately chose the name ‘Healthcare’ rather than ‘Hospitals’ because we don’t want to limit our ambition. The long-term trend is for more care to be delivered outside of the conventional hospital setting, and while our priority will be to develop our existing facilities we will also look at new ways of delivering quality healthcare services.

She concluded: “Over the last 25 years we have built up a great reputation among our customers, so we hope that everyone will see that although our brand name has changed, our commitment to deliver excellent service and clinical expertise has not.”

Minister for Competitiveness visits Eschmann Equipment

THE MINISTER OF STATE for Competitiveness has praised the UK medtech industry’s substantial contribution to the economy during a visit to Eschmann Equipment in Lancing, West Sussex.

Stephen Timms, who is responsible for enterprise, growth and business investment, viewed Eschmann technologies such as the new range of Little Sister™ sterilisers and the successful T-Series operating table system, and applauded the innovation of the sector as a whole:

“It is always a great pleasure to visit a British manufacturing business thriving on the world stage whilst continuing to innovate and invest in what I know is a very competitive healthcare market. Innovation in medical technology is a UK success story, and the Government is working closely with the sector to ensure it continues to make a substantial contribution to the UK economy.”

Mr Timms was accompanied by John Wilkinson, Director General of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), who said: “Eschmann are a great example of a successful UK small to medium-sized medical technology company, producing high-quality products which improve outcomes for patients and contributing to the UK economy.”

Based in Lancing, West Sussex, Eschmann Equipment is a leading manufacturer of operating tables, theatre equipment and infection control systems.

Getinge acquires surgery businesses

GETINGE HAS PURCHASED THE CARDIAC SURGERY and Vascular Surgery divisions of Boston Scientific in the USA for $750 million.

This acquisition will enable Getinge to become the global market leader in cardiac surgery products by marketing the acquired brands outside the USA.

The cardiac surgery market is an important niche within the market for cardiovascular diseases, and is growing by 8–10% per year.

Boston Scientific purchased the cardiac surgery business from Guidant in 2006, and acquired the vascular surgery business in 1995.

The cardiac surgery division has market-leading products for endoscopic vessel harvesting, anastomosis, surgical ablation and other procedures. The vascular surgery division has built up a very strong position in the treatment of aortic and thoracic aneurysms.

Getinge views the acquisition as a basis for expansion in the global market for medical devices, equipment and instruments for cardiac surgery. By marketing both divisions’ products outside the USA, it expects to greatly increase their market share.

Johan Malmquist, President and CEO of Getinge AB, said: “The acquisition of these high-quality, market-leading businesses creates a unique platform upon which to take further steps toward building a global, market-leading presence in cardiac surgery.”




Mobilis wins BHTA award

THE MOBILIS HEALTHCARE GROUP has won the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) award for outstanding customer service.

Nottingham Rehab Supplies, Pride Mobility Products and Optelec won awards for their assistive technologies at the same event.

Mobilis was presented with the trophy for its service excellence to physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy and sports healthcare professionals at the BHTA’s Annual Awards Dinner at Central Hall, Westminster.

Broadcaster Angela Rippon presented the award to Ian Eaves, who commented: “This award is a fitting tribute to all the Mobilis staff who, over the last 18 months, have worked tirelessly to implement the installation of a major new IT and logistics system, a key enabler to maintaining the loyalty and goodwill of our customers.”

Based in Oldham, the Mobilis Healthcare Group is the preferred supplier to the RFU and official partner to RFU community rugby.

The same ceremony saw the 2007 BHTA Independent Living Design Awards, recognising innovation in assistive technology. First prize went to the 2 in 1 Bed Rail from Nottingham Rehab Supplies, designed for use in a domestic setting. Second prize went to the Airgo Navigator from Pride Mobility Products, a four-wheel walker that converts to a chair. Third prize went to the Compact + pocket video magnifier from Optelec.

Sue Norris, head of the NHS PASA Centre for Evidence-Based Purchasing and chair of the judges, said: “We felt that the three prizewinners had made subtle but significant improvements to the safety and quality of life for the users of their products.”

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