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Private sector benefits the most from efforts to market NHS skills abroad

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5242 (Published 21 August 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5242
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1The BMJ

A UK government venture designed to sell NHS expertise abroad delivered more than half a billion pounds’ worth of healthcare contracts last year, the Department of Health (DH) has said. But figures released under the Freedom of Information Act suggested that the initiative had so far benefited private sector providers more than NHS organisations.

Healthcare UK—a joint partnership between the DH and UK Trade and Investment—was launched in 2012 to help expand the NHS brand abroad. The push to target markets in areas such as China, India, and South America resurrected a policy first launched by the Labour government in 2010 called NHS Global.1 When launching the scheme in 2012 Anne Milton, Conservative health minister, described it as “good news for NHS patients, who will get …

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