UAE: Arab Health: Visit by Earl Howe and Lord Kakkar – February 2014
British Embassy Dubai
A year on from the launch of Healthcare UK Earl Howe’s visit demonstrates our commitment to healthcare transformation in the Gulf, including through signing an MOU with Kuwait. Meetings with healthcare leaders expose an urgent need and opportunity for postgraduate medical education to be delivered in the UAE, through international partnerships. Cambridge University Hospitals lead the way and partnering with Dubai Healthcare City to deliver training courses to medical professionals in the UAE.
From 27-30 January, Dubai hosted Arab Health, the world’s second largest healthcare exhibition and congress, now in its 39th year. In addition to Earl Howe’s visit (Minister for Quality, Department of Health) from 26-27 January, Arab Health was attended by Professor Lord Kakkar, in his capacity as UK Business Ambassador and Howard Lyons, Managing Director of Healthcare UK, the UKTI/DoH/NHS initiative to promote UK healthcare expertise across the world, which was launched in Dubai a year ago.
The UK’s presence at Arab Health 2014 was significant, with 211 UK exhibitors choosing Dubai to promote their service and product offerings to an international audience. Our visitors were able to provide visible support and profile to these British exporters and later attended a dinner hosted by the Association of British Healthcare Industries. The conference provided the backdrop for meetings with regional healthcare leaders. A VIP lunch hosted by Earl Howe attended by the Omani Minister of Health and healthcare leaders from the UAE saw wide-ranging discussions on challenges and opportunities for the development of healthcare services in the region.
Earl Howe signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Health and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health. This agreement will provide a platform for enhanced collaboration between the UK and Kuwait in the development of their health system and infrastructure. In the context of Kuwait’s ambitious plans for hospital developments, this could create significant commercial opportunities for UK companies.
Earl Howe’s meeting with the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (HAAD) reaffirmed the UK’s position as a partner of choice Healthcare UK will be facilitating discussions with regulators in the UK, such as the CQC and Monitor, which might present an appropriate model for HAAD’s approach. A meeting with Dubai Health Authority confirmed that Dubai had the same healthcare problems as the UK (Long Term Conditions and Non-Communicable Diseases) and they were looking for opportunities to work with the UK to share knowledge and expertise. There were opportunities for collaboration in education and training, including linking into partnerships with Dubai Healthcare City (see below).
Earl Howe and Lord Kakkar’s engagement with Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) demonstrated the significant opportunity for collaboration in both healthcare provision, and training and education. Lord Kakkar led a delegation to Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, based at DHCC. The clinic, established in 2007, is the first example of an NHS Foundation Trust establishing a wing overseas. With several NHS organisations now on the cusp of following suit in the UAE and beyond, the leadership team provided Lord Kakkar and Healthcare UK with some valuable insights into the business model used.
Cambridge University Hospitals signed an MOU with DHCC to collaborate in areas including trauma treatment and paediatric anaesthetics, including delivering training in the UAE using the world class facilities and simulation centre at DHCC. Lord Kakkar hosted a training and education round table at DHCC attended by 30 UK companies, Universities, NHS Foundation Trusts, Health Education England and Medical Royal Colleges, as well as UAE based organisations. Discussion focussed on the system of medical training and education in the UK, the specific needs of the Emirati partners and the offers of the UK organisations. This generated significant interest in using DHCC as a base for training provision.
DHCC and Healthcare UK co-hosted an event for over 100 companies to mark the first anniversary the launch of Healthcare UK, including keynote speeches from Professor Lord Kakkar, H.E. Raja Al Gurg (Chair of the UK-UAE Business Council Healthcare Working Group), and Dr Ahmed Al Saeedi (Oman Minister of Health). A number of case studies were presented, showcasing partnerships established in the Middle East over the preceding 12 months, such as Oxford Fertility Unit’s collaboration with the Brightpoint Women’s Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
On his third visit to the UAE, the Emiratis, Kuwaitis and Omanis were clear about the value they place on the UK-UAE relationship.
High quality medical education is seen by UAE leaders as an important step to encourage home-grown talent to take up challenging positions in the healthcare sector. The availability of postgraduate courses locally should also lead to a significant reduction in turnover of expatriate workers, which account for the overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals in the UAE. DHCC demonstrated how it can help us deliver education and training for healthcare professionals in the UAE and wider region. The Healthcare Working Group of the UK-UAE Business Council may provide an appropriate channel to drive this activity forward.
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