Scotland at forefront of health innovations
Scotland is set to be a world leader in innovative health technology, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said today.
Close working relationships between NHSScotland and the life sciences industry will allow pioneering developments to dramatically improve healthcare for patients and potentially save lives.
This will also help to achieve the aim of doubling the economic contribution of life sciences to the Scottish economy by 2020 to £6 billion.
Scottish scientists and businesses are already leading the way in medical innovation. Recent developments include a new class of cancer drugs, stem cell treatment which could potentially reverse corneal blindness and a treatment for diabetics which reduces dependence on insulin.
Speaking today (Friday) at the NHSScotland Event, Delivering Quality Through Innovation, Ms Sturgeon outlined a new vision for Scotland to be at the forefront of innovation in health.
It aims to increase partnership working so that NHSScotland can develop its use of new innovative technology and improve the quality of care which patients receive.
Increased investment in technology will also enable more people to be care for at home rather than in hospital.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Many of the greatest advances in the history of medicine come from Scotland and we are already at the forefront in many areas of clinical and health research.
“Continued investment in this area has the potential to lead to groundbreaking medical breakthroughs which could benefit patients both in Scotland and across the globe.
“This statement is hugely significant for Scottish industry. It presents our innovative companies with a fantastic opportunity to work closely with the NHS to develop products and services that will benefit patients and the Scottish economy.
“I look forward to working with public and private sector partners to bring the ambitions of this statement to life for Scotland’s innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners.”
Dr John Brown CBE FRSE, Chair of the Scottish Life Sciences Association, said: “Our members from across the life sciences sector in Scotland understand the importance of the NHS as a driver of health innovation, as well as a market for their products.
“We very much welcome the commitment which the Government has made today to set up Health Innovation Partnerships between life sciences businesses and the NHS in Scotland, and to have them up and running by the beginning of next year.
“We will play our part in encouraging our 100 member companies to take this opportunity to develop products and services which meet NHS needs for innovation – it is a classic win-win situation.”
Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said: “Scotland is in an excellent position because of its skilled workforce and excellent patient record system to attract investment in research. We look forward to supporting the promised formation of the Strategic Engagement Group and Health Innovation Partnerships to deliver huge benefits for the economy and world-leading healthcare for patients.”