News story

UK life sciences get government cash boost

Hundreds of millions of pounds will be invested in the UK life sciences industry to improve patient care and fund new medical breakthroughs, says PM

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

To help further improve patient care, and to fund new medical breakthroughs, the Government has today launched its Life Sciences Strategy and a review of Innovation in the NHS.

Key measures include:

  • installing remote medical devices - such as home-based equipment that can send details of the vital statistics of at-risk patients directly to doctors - to 3 million people over the next five years
  • consulting on proposals on a new ‘early access scheme’ which will put new drugs and technologies in NHS hospitals more quickly than ever before, particularly in areas where new treatments are urgently needed, such as brain and lung cancers
  • introducing a new £180 million fund to help the next generation of brilliant British medical breakthroughs become the next generation of great British companies

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

We can be proud of our past - but we cannot be complacent about our future. The industry is changing; not just year by year, but month by month. We must ensure that the UK stays ahead, yes, we’ve got a leading science base; we’ve got four of the world’s top ten universities; and, we have a National Health Service unlike any other. But these strengths alone are not enough to keep pace with what’s happening - we’ve got to change radically - the way we innovate, the way we collaborate, the way we open up the NHS.

The two reports we’re publishing today are testament to our ambition: not just to hang on in there with a significant foot-hold in the global market, but to take an even bigger share of that market in the years to come. I want the great discoveries of the next decade happening in British labs, the new technologies born in British start-ups.

A consultation on automatically including patient data in clinical research, while giving patients a clear opportunity to opt-out if they wish to do so, will also be held.

This is in response to calls from research charities and clinicians for government to get patients more involved in supporting the research agenda.

The UK life science industry, which includes pharmaceutical, medical technology and medical biotechnology companies, is one of the world leaders.

It is the third largest contributor to economic growth in the UK with more than 4,000 companies, employing around 160,000 people and with a total annual turnover of over £50 billion.

Life Sciences Prospectus

Published 5 December 2011