Wes Streeting: We can make Britain a powerhouse for MedTech

  • 10 July 2024
Wes Streeting: We can make Britain a powerhouse for MedTech
  • Health secretary Wes Streeting has pledged that the new government will make Britain "a powerhouse for life sciences and medical technology”.
  • His comments were made at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s ‘Future of Britain’ conference.
  • Streeting also spoke about his commitment to deliver “billions of pounds of economic growth” and cut waiting lists by taking “bold action on public health”.

Health secretary Wes Streeting has pledged that the new government will make Britain “a powerhouse for the life sciences and medical technology”.

His comments were made at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s ‘Future of Britain’ conference, which took place online on 9 July 2024.

Streeting told journalist Jon Sopel: “If we can marry our health and social care system with the incredible life sciences and MedTech ecosystem we have in this country, we can be a powerhouse for the life sciences and MedTech revolution here in this country and in the world”.

He added: “This is about a mutual relationship where if you can marry the sharpest, brightest mind in UK life sciences and MedTech, with the single payer NHS model that we have with all of the untapped potential that it offers, the sky’s the limit in terms of what this country can deliver for patients.

“If you look at some of Labour’s first steps in our manifesto, doubling the number of CT and MRI scanners and not just more scanners, but AI-enabled scanners, those are massive productivity gains.

“Those are massive improvements for patient experience in terms of how many people we can get through and how quickly – they’re massive improvements in the quality of diagnostics”.

Streeting also spoke about his commitment to deliver “billions of pounds of economic growth” by getting people back to work and cut waiting lists by taking “bold action on public health”.

Responding to Streeting’s comments, Peter Ellingworth, chief executive of the British Association of British HealthTech Industries, told Digital Health News that “urgent steps are required” to be able to lead a revolution in MedTech and ensure the UK remains a favourable destination for the sector.

“We must accelerate the delivery of international recognition for product approvals, ensuring the Regulator is appropriately resourced to do this alongside developing sovereign arrangements which are synonymous with innovation and early access.

“We must also ensure that the NHS is fully resourced to maximise the adoption and spread of innovative technologies, both those that are here now but underutilised, and those that are emerging,” Ellingworth said.

Streeting was named as health secretary on 5 July, following the general election on 4 July. In his first speech in the role, he declared that the NHS is “broken”.

On 8 July, Karin Smyth, Labour MP for Bristol South, was named as minister for health and Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberafan Maesteg, was named as the minister for care.

The appointments were followed on 10 July, with Baroness Gillian Merron as parliamentary under-secretary of state with responsibility for patient safety and life sciences, and Andrew Gwynne, Labour MP for Gorton and Denton, as parliamentary under-secretary of state with responsibility for public health and prevention.

At an event hosted by the Medical Journalists’ Association on 17 June 2024, Streeting criticised the “glacial pace” of adoption of the federated data platform and said that Labour would deliver “a more effective culture of innovation”.

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