Mark Cook, the new chair of ABHI Scotland
Mark Cook, the new chair of ABHI Scotland

ABHI, a UK industry association for health technology, has launched ABHI Scotland to help Scotland’s health tech community attract new investment and to bring the work of healthcare innovators to more patients at home and abroad.

The move, which will see the formation of a dedicated operation in Edinburgh, builds on several years of work with companies and universities in Scotland to support and represent ABHI members and the wider health tech community.

Chair of ABHI Scotland, Mark Cook, recently appointed Co-Chair of the Scottish Government Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group, believes that the time is now right for there to be an ABHI team devoted to companies behind medical devices, diagnostics and digital health in Scotland.

Mark said: “Scotland has its own routes for health tech adoption by the NHS here, alongside distinct attributes that can support the development and diffusion of technologies.

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“Scotland’s integrated approach to data, combined with its world-class university and research sector, provides a compelling offer for both export and inward investment.

“ABHI Scotland is a natural next step to build on our work here in Scotland and help us work ever closer with the huge variety of teams developing and supplying everything from camera pills, diagnostic tests and artificial hands to techniques that kill tumours from within for patients here and across the globe.”

The decision was welcomed as a vote of confidence in Scottish health tech. The Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee, stated: “Health tech is a strategically important part of our life sciences sector which allows us, as a nation, to focus on addressing the world’s biggest health challenges through data-driven health solutions, innovation, design and manufacture.

“As well as global players who have chosen Scotland as a base, our home-grown companies and university-spin out companies employ over 41,000 highly skilled people in our Life Sciences sector.

“I look forward to continuing to work with ABHI through this new Scottish group, to realise our shared ambition that patients here and across the world will benefit wherever and whenever they can from healthcare innovations.”

ABHI has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to work closely with Strathclyde University’s Institute of Medical Devices centre of excellence.

The Institute’s Director, Professor Trish Connolly, who also sits on the board of ABHI, says Scotland benefits from close working between the health tech sector and academia.

Trish commented: “The strength of this collaboration enables companies to accelerate the creation, development and delivery of products to market both here and abroad.

“The team I work with at the University of Strathclyde understand the needs of the medical devices industry and clinicians and we have a dedicated HealthTech Cluster (HTC) to support our industry-facing research.

“The HTC allows us to support health tech companies of all sizes to make sure they do the right research in the right settings and in the right way to allow them to gain both regulatory approval and the trust of healthcare professionals who will take their solutions to patients.

“Our framework agreements with NHS (NHS Lanarkshire and the NHS Golden Jubilee University Hospital) allow us to complete the triple helix of industry-academe-NHS to provide the best research environment for health tech research.”

ABHI Chief Executive Peter Ellingworth says the creation of ABHI Scotland represents a natural progression of the organisation’s work in Scotland.

Peter said: “ABHI is already the leading trade association for Scottish health tech businesses with knowledge of Scotland’s healthcare landscape and deep connections with the NHS and Scottish and UK Governments, which has allowed us to bring the voice of health tech innovators and suppliers to inform both health and economic policies.

“The creation of ABHI Scotland will allow us to concentrate on continuing to raise awareness of our sector, offer something more to our members in Scotland and help fill a gap for companies in Scotland who felt we weren’t previously for them.”

ABHI supports the health tech community to save and enhance lives. Members, including both multinationals and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), supply products from syringes and wound dressings to surgical robots and digitally enhanced technologies.

Earlier this year, ABHI sat alongside other industry leaders at the GS1 Healthcare Conference to discuss the important topic of sustainability within the healthcare sector.

There is a range of Scottish-based companies within ABHI’s membership, ranging from small and medium sized companies, such as ODx Innovations and Emblation Limited, through to large multinationals who invest in Scotland, including Medtronic.

Health tech plays a key role in supporting delivery of healthcare and is a significant contributor to the UK’s economic growth. Health tech is the largest employer in the broader life sciences sector, employing 138,100 people in 4,140 companies across the UK, with a combined turnover of £27.6 billion.

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