Health Innovation Expo – Day 2


Yesterday marked the second and final days of Europe’s largest healthcare innovation event, the Health Innovation Expo, at the ExCel Centre in London. Like day 1, the second day didn’t disappoint with a range of speakers who are all experts in their field.

The day started off in the main stage with a speech by Professor Malcolm Grant, chair of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB), who delivered a talk on the importance of modernising the NHS.

“The sciences and the life sciences in the UK are world class,” Professor Grant said. “The NHS is wonderfully innovative but appalling at plagiarism internally. There are some wonderfully innovative teams in the NHS but the rest of the organisation seems to copy.”

Professor Grant spoke about life expectancy rise across the world, which has increased by 4.2 years. He highlighted that the UK comes out high in premature deaths due to the lifestyle choices of the British public.

He spoke about healthcare investment in the UK and how he thought it was “remarkable how cheap it is” compared to other countries. He said that the NHS accounts for 9.6% of GDP in the UK whereas in the US healthcare costs almost double at 18%.

Finally Professor Grant stated that if the NHS is to keep delivering quality healthcare it needs to innovate. The mean investment in the NHS has risen by 4% of the last six decades but new government legislation since 2010 means investment to 2015 will be flat and Professor Grant said “2015 won’t be much brighter.”

Continuing on the main stage was CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, Sir Andrew Witty, who spoke about innovation in the NHS through collaboration. Witty said the UK is a laggard in its ability to create successful biotech companies but in pharma it is a world leader.

He said there won’t be any breakthroughs for Alzheimer’s in the next ten years but thinks there will be in the next ten to twenty years. “Putting a man on the moon is trivial compared with finding a cure for Alzheimer’s” he said.

The Future Zone at the NHS Innovation Expo 2013The Future Zone at the NHS Innovation Expo 2013

Sir David Reid, former CEO of Tesco and Chair of Whizzkidz and Whizzkidz CEO, Ruth Owen OBE, spoke about speeding up the pace of change. Worryingly it can take up to twelve years for a disabled child to receive a wheelchair and Whizzkidz is a charity set up by Owen to speed up the process and also provide wheelchairs to those that need them.  

The Final Verdict

The NHS Innovation Expo was an impressive two-day event showcasing the very best in innovation and technology, how it can benefit the healthcare industry and ultimately save and improve lives.

From impassionate speeches to new launch announcements, the event highlighted the very best in innovation in the UK. As American speaker, Beth Noveck, pointed out; the NHS is the largest healthcare system in the world and has the opportunity to do wonderful things with data, transparency and innovation.  

Judging by the last two days it looks like it’s well on its way.

To read about day 1 of NHS Expo - please visit our day 1 review here.

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