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China Daily Website

UK to bring healthcare expertise to China

Updated: 2013-03-15 16:38
By Cecily Liu and Zhang Chunyan in London ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Britain will soon bring its healthcare expertise to China by setting up a new agency, Healthcare UK, according to Ken Clarke, a former British health secretary who is now minister without portfolio.

The launch will take place during Clarke's forthcoming trade visit to China, along with British health service sector businesses, institutions and educational bodies, he said in London on Thursday.

"Healthcare UK is a government agency which is going to support private British businesses who specialize in the management and commission of health services, and people who can build and operate hospitals and clinics," Clarke said.

"We can also help British medical schools to train Chinese people both here in the UK and also by distance learning in China. We can train specialist technicians to support the medical equipment we can provide to China," he added.

Clarke was speaking to China Daily after his speech at this year's China Business Conference, a one-day event hosted by the China Britain Business Council in central London.

His comments come as Britain's National Health Service attempts to expand into China.

Clarke says his team is in the process of recruiting one Chinese representative for Healthcare UK in China. This representative will initially share an office with the Beijing subsidiary of UK Trade and Investment, another British government agency.

Apart from visiting Beijing, Clarke's forthcoming trip will also take him to Zhejiang province, where he sees great opportunities in healthcare collaboration. He will have talks with the Zhejiang provincial government.

Many British businesses have a presence in Zhejiang, including the London-headquartered Smiths Group, which has grown significantly in China after the acquisition in 2008 of Zhejiang Zheda Medical Instrument, a manufacturer of medical instruments.

Clarke said China's healthcare system presents enormous opportunities for British businesses, because the UK's healthcare system is globally respected.

Healthcare development is a major focus of the Chinese government's current Five-Year Plan (2011-15).