Healthcare innovation could cut NHS Scotland bill by £1.5bn

Scotland’s NHS bill has the potential to be cut by £1.5 billion over the next five years if the opportunities of cutting edge healthcare innovation are fully realised.

Prof Dame Anna Dominiczak, by John Devlin.
Prof Dame Anna Dominiczak, by John Devlin.

Next generation precision medicine could also achieve for our nation a significant slice of a predicted global economy boost of $134 billion by 2025.

In addition, the benefits of a host of improved treatments for Scottish patients know no bounds.

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Yet if Scotland is to gain these very significant advantages, action must be taken now.

This was the view of Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Regis Professor of Medicine and vice principal at the University of Glasgow, at The Scotsman Conference on Accelerating the Precision Medicine Opportunity in Scotland, yesterday.

Speaking to a room of delegates at the Queen Elizabeth Teaching and Learning Centre in Glasgow, she said: “Scotland has a very real opportunity to be a world leader in precision medicine.

“We are already recognised for our innovation in healthcare, our education excellence and our supportive industry.

“We also have a ‘living laboratory’ here in Glasgow at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

“But we must act now and we can’t be left behind other countries that have also recognised the potential of precision medicine.

“I am calling for the triple helix of industry, academia and the NHS to truly work together, collaborating further, to take the next major step for our nation.”

Inward investment and funding was also highlighted as being critical for Scotland’s precision medicine opportunities.

The current focus is to secure a potential cash boost from a UK Research and Innovation Strength in Places Fund.

Another speaker, Dr Carol Clugston, who is the chief operating officer of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, also at the University of Glasgow, said: “The fund would be worth £40 million to us and there could be a further £15 million investment from industry contributions.

“We have all the building blocks in place in Scotland – and in particular in Glasgow – and we know we are already doing well in this very innovative healthcare field.

“We now want to grow the potential for precision medicine and to demonstrate further – on a worldwide stage – exactly what we are doing and what we can achieve.

“The vision is to create a wealthier country and a healthier population.”