The United Kingdom could play a “significant role” in helping India build hospitals and clinics in smart cities, according to the National Health Service (NHS) chairman Sir Malcolm Grant.
“The UK has developed some of the most innovative healthcare services and systems in the world over the past seven decades of NHS. The UK has an unmatched combination of clinical, technological and academic expertise,” said Grant to the Economic Times.
“I hope that our visit will help write a new chapter in the history of India’s health services, both in the private sector and in the government’s ambition to provide universal healthcare.”
Grant is part of a trade venture comprised of 23 British companies and NHS trusts, looking into potential health partnerships in North India. The team will visit Mumbai and Bengaluru and meet with healthcare officials to discuss the future of India’s healthcare system.
India is starting to see a rise in British investment, as relations between the countries blossom. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited in the UK and both countries called it the start of a “special relationship”, similar to the UK’s growing relationship with China.
That special relationship with India may provide solutions to the current problems facing the country’s healthcare system. At the current time, most citizens either use public services that are woefully underfunded or pay for private insurance.
India looking for a universal healthcare solution, on a budget
There is an initiative to build a universal health service, started under the Singh government, but Modi has called for drastic cutbacks to the service. This has caused severe delays, as the government searches for ways to lower the budget. In the meantime, millions of Indian citizens remain in limbo, unable to afford private healthcare and only receiving basic healthcare from public institutions.
Bringing in experts from the UK might help alleviate some of the budget concerns, by providing more effective and efficient systems to smart cities. The NHS may also be able to use local technology, like the high adoption rate of mobile devices, to provide healthcare on the go.
NHS executives know all about managing budget cuts too, in the past six years the Conservative government has been cutting off billions of pounds in health funds to try and balance the economic books, and still the NHS remains one of the highest rated health services in the world.