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Israel and the NHS: a natural fit for healthcare cooperation

Posted: 21st July 2021

Working with the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration to showcase Israeli innovations to the NHS.

As Israel is such a small market, with only 8 million people – roughly the size of the population a bit larger than London, Israeli healthcare start-ups, healthcare IT, medical devices and dental start-ups are always looking for new markets.

The NHS proves to be the right market for many of these Israeli companies, as cultural and language gaps are lower than other non-English speaking countries, the geographical distances from the UK to Israel is half than the distance to the USA, and with a deep understanding in clinical research, Israeli med-tech companies feel comfortable testing and conducting pilots in the UK.

To showcase Israeli innovations to the NHS market, the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration (FTA) collaborated with the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN and the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) on a series of events in May. The companies selected to take part in the ‘Israel Healthcare Innovation Week’, were chosen based on solving certain unmet needs in the NHS, including remote monitoring, diagnostics, mental health and wellbeing solutions.

Support from the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN

As part of the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s well-established links with the NHSA we were introduced to the Israeli FTA and supported SME ‘pitch’ events for NHS Stakeholders to attend: Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Foundation Trust (RDASH) and Sheffield Teaching Hospital. After recruiting the right NHS audience and ensuring we had buy-in, we collaborated with NHS innovation Leads to provide the FTA with key areas to focus on. The companies then had an introductory session to enable them to better understand how the AHSN can offer support in the future.

Ofer Fohrer, Head of Economic and Trade Mission to the UK, FTA said:

“We could not have organised the programme of events without the close support and guidance of the NHSA, the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network, and other organisations which took part in the ‘Israel Healthcare Innovation Week’. We are looking forward to working with these organizations again in the future.”

Heather Rice, Assistant Director of Research, Rotherham and Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We participated in a highly organised and well-run process which had a high success rate in matching appropriate organisations relevant to our work and areas of interest.”

Neil Toner, Programme Manager, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN said:

“The events went really well and the feedback from the NHS was really positive. Less than a month later, many of the innovators are having follow-up discussions with the Trusts to better understand their needs and explore collaboration.”

Dr Chris Mckee, Business Development and Innovation Manager, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“Recently, I had the pleasure of working and presenting in partnership with the FTA, NHSA and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN for the Israeli UK Health Tech Innovation Week. In Leeds and across the north of England we have been working very closely with Israeli innovators across several areas of unmet needs within our NHS. The opportunity to further engage with the broad range of healthcare innovators in Israel has been very rewarding with several further discussions taking place following the event. I look forward to engaging with the teams time and time again in the years to come as we continue to bring new and exciting solutions to our NHS supported by our close partners in Israel.”

Ben Martyn, Cluster Development Manager, Northern Health Science Alliance, said:

“This programme is a perfect example of the impact working together as a cluster to engage with partners internationally can have.  By bringing together the skills and expertise of our member institutions such as the Yorkshire and Humber AHSN, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, and Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust, we can ensure that Israeli companies can always access the right expertise at the right time in their development, all while being confident that they solve a true unmet healthcare challenge for the NHS.  Our members in Yorkshire and beyond have enabled to us develop these strong links with partners like the FTA and deliver co-operative and globally leading programmes like this.”

It was a great event with SMEs and the NHS both benefitting. In the future, we hope to further collaborate and have a pilot site as a direct result of these events.

We are planning to hold further events next year so if you are interested, please contacts us.