Demographic changes leading to greater demands on healthcare provision is a major challenge facing successive governments both here and abroad. Electronic Systems already play a significant and growing role in diagnostics in healthcare, but will significantly increase its role in prosthetics to enhance vision and hearing (such as the cochlear implant), but also improved actuation and sensing for replacement limbs.
This will extend into broader applications: from screening and early diagnosis, through treatment, into monitoring and aftercare. Innovation in all of these areas can that a purchase order from a significant customer can be of huge strategic value to an SME. If this can be achieved successfully then innovation can be accelerated to the benefit of both the procuring body, and the UK supplier.
The UK already has the largest medical market in Europe worth £6 billion, which includes the electro-medical market estimated at £400 million in 2012, according to Espicom27.
During ESCO consultation several small, innovative UK companies reported that NHS procurement seemed impenetrable. Clarity and simplicity in public procurement processes coupled with a road map of future needs will focus the direction of R&D to meet the needs of government whilst stimulating competition.
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