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Tue 21 Aug 2012 11:24 AM

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Britain's NHS to become global franchise

UK government announces plans to open NHS hospitals overseas, including Middle East

Britain's NHS to become global franchise
The government will launch Healthcare UK to act as a consultant for hospitals and potential overseas clients in the autumn. The body will also represent private healthcare firms such as Bupa and drug companies including GlaxoSmithKline.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) plans to sell its brand rights around the world, including to the oil-rich Middle East, as part of a new venture to boost income.

The venture may see well-known hospitals such as Great Ormond Street become a worldwide franchise.

The government will launch Healthcare UK to act as a consultant for hospitals and potential overseas clients in the autumn. The body will also represent private healthcare firms such as Bupa and drug companies including GlaxoSmithKline.

The scheme, which has been put together by the Department of Health and the UK Trade and Investment department, is aimed at increasing funds into the health service.

The proposal is inspired by medical facilities in the US, such as the Cleveland clinic and Johns Hopkins, which have both opened branches abroad. Potential markets include the Middle East, India, China and Brazil.

The government pointed to British medical services that are already working in several Middle Eastern countries. Moorfields Eye Hospital operates a branch in Dubai while Imperial College London formed a joint venture with Mubadala, Abu Dhabi government’s investment vehicle, for a diabetes centre in 2006.

Senior executives from the South East Coast Ambulance Trust also recently visited Libya where the post-Gaddafi regime is rebuilding its health service.

“This is also good news for the economy which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly successful life sciences industries as they trade more across the globe,” Anne Milton, Health Minister said.

“The NHS has a world-class reputation, and this exciting development will make the most of that to deliver real benefits for both patients and taxpayers,” she added.

Governments in the GCC are spending billions of dollars on improving healthcare facilities amid a rising rate of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The number of people suffering from diabetes in the MENA region is expected to double from 366m in 2011 to 552m by 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Four of the Gulf states are ranked amongst the world’s top ten fattest nations with Kuwait the second fattest country in the world behind the United States, according to a research report published by BMC Public Health last month.

Saudi Arabia has earmarked US$73bn for building hospitals and healthcare centres in the kingdom over a four year period while Abu Dhabi has partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to improve healthcare conditions within the emirate.

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Yas 8 years ago


Some of the NHS hospitals are disaster zones.


I wish the NHS...amongst the fine in the world, can bring its expertise to the AGCC states, and particularly to MUSCAT, OMAN, where it is certainly required, and will be heartily welcomed, and due to lack of equivalent competition, will be an instant success.

jason 8 years ago

hope you never need one Yas.

but you are free to pay for hefty private insurance and go anywhere you want to of course.

Doug 8 years ago

Which ones, exactly?

Granted, yes, most NHS hospitals don't have sparkly waterfalls or grand atriums like the American Hospital in Dubai. But I'll tell you this - whenever I've gone into an NHS hospital, I've been comfortable, well looked after, treated and emerged with my wallet weighing the same as when I went in.

Granted, if you want your hospital stay to be like going to a hotel with some more poking and prodding, by all means go private. If I'm in hospital, I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible so I'm not too bothered whether the bedside lamps are designed by Armani.

Pride 8 years ago

To All The British Expats: Get ready for overseas tax!!!

Sam 8 years ago

@Yas - I could not agree more. NHS stands for NO HEALTH SERVICE.

Evidently intellectual colonization is the order of the day.

jason 8 years ago

Many countries export intelluctually but not all countries import to the same degree.

As has clearly been stated in the article, this is ongoing already and will be more so in the future. Never at the expense of anyone's health though.

If you had read the article, you would realise just how intellectually challenged your comment was.
But why let facts get in the way huh?

Doug 8 years ago


This entire scheme is to 'sell' well known hospital brands operated by the NHS around the world. So you'd get things like Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital Abu Dhabi and so on. These would be private hospitals that patients would need to pay for. If anything, this would then REDUCE the tax burden in the UK as the profits from these overseas ventures would then subsidise care in the UK.

Dawn 8 years ago

Sam you have obviously never needed or worked in the NHS - having done both I am more than qualified to comment that while it may have long waiting lists the care is excellent and it always there when you need it most. You want quicker care - pay for it - I may now work in hospitals in the middle east but they could learn alot for the NHS.

Professor Steve Green 7 years ago

When it comes to British medicine, it is not just about the NHS and way that healthcare is provided.

For example, I am part of QHA Trent Accreditation, the UK-based fully independent accreditation scheme which offers an option to accreditation options from the USA and other countries for hospitals and clinics outside of the UK.

Also, UK-sourced postgraduate medical examinations, such as the MRCP(UK) and MRCS from the highly respected Royal Colleges are immensely highly valued all around the world because of the strong emphasis they place on bedside clinical ability, which is not necessarily the case with other postgraduate training systems from elsewhere.