A new cross-sector enterprise partnership has been launched to boost the health tech industry in the Leeds City Region.

More than three million people are set to benefit from the partnership, which includes the NHS, local authorities and five universities and is designed to accelerate health technology innovation.

Partners have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to drive forward new approaches in improving patient and population health and care through better and faster health tech innovation.

The partnership is the first of its kind in the region.

Those signed up for the MoU include:

  • The Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI)
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
  • Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Leeds
  • University of York

John Fisher, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Leeds, said: “This MoU signals an important step towards embracing the opportunities and realising the ambitions set out in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

“It paves the way for us to reduce fragmentation, further harness expertise and capability and radically strengthen the Leeds City Region’s position as a leading global player in health tech.

“Each partner will play their part in helping address and overcome the barriers to innovation.  By working together in a new, focused and coordinated way, we will accelerate radical improvements in patient care, health service efficiency and drive economic growth and productivity across the region and the UK.”

The agreement aims to put in place the strong, coordinated leadership and support required to capitalise on the globally burgeoning health tech market.

In 2015, the market was estimated to be worth $371 billion (£307bn) and was forecast to grow to $529 billion (£437bn) by 2021.

The MoU offers a new opportunity for partners to better understand the region’s health needs, and how they can support development, testing, and deployment of health tech at scale.

Rob Webster, CEO lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said: “Innovation in health technology has the potential to transform services, improve health outcomes and most importantly save people’s lives.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in developing closer partnerships between health technology companies and health and care organisations across our area.

“It means that people will be able to benefit more quickly and systematically from technologies that can help them. It will also drive inward investment into our region and support our goals for inclusive growth.”

Partners will now work together to agree mutually-beneficial themes to concentrate investment to reflect patient needs.