Government agency Healthcare UK says it helped UK organisations secure healthcare contracts worth £556 million during 2013/14, £206 million more than it had targeted.

While a target of 350 contracts had been set for the year, 550 were actually won, says Healthcare UK, which was established in January 2013 as a joint venture between the Department of Health, NHS England and UK Trade and Industry to engage the UK health sector in exporting and raise the sector’s profile internationally.

For 2013/14, the agency had targeted a pipeline of 80 major healthcare opportunities worth £1.5 billion, but 82 quantified leads were actually identified, and these were worth £10.8 billion, or 620% over target. The value of these in priority markets are: Brazil - £133 million, China - £125 million, Hong Kong - £203 million, India - £3 million, Kuwait - £307 million, Libya - £5.3 billion, Oman - £10 million, Saudi Arabia - £1.9 billion and UAE -£222 million.

Also during the year, the agency supported 612 UK organisations in these goals - 104% more than targeted - of which 455 were businesses, 81 were public bodies and 76 were NHS organisations.

62 missions, high-level meetings and events took place in 2013/14, in locations including Brazil, China, India and the Gulf. At these, 87% of local participants expressed positive views of the UK healthcare sector, 47% of whom said they were now “more positive” than before and 19% were “much more positive.”

Announcing the figures, Healthcare UK’s managing director, Howard Lyons, said the agency “has made great strides in establishing a vital role in the improvement of healthcare standards globally, as well as contributing to the recovery and growth of the UK economy.” 

“The success this year in working with British organisations and their counterparts overseas has reinforced that the NHS is well-regarded around the world. It is seen as being at the cutting edge in many areas of healthcare delivery, with countries like China, Brazil and India keen to learn from its model of universal healthcare,” he said.

A ”massive pipeline of opportunities” for British organisations has been created, and “the power of the UK’s healthcare sector has been a critical factor in opening doors around the world,” said Mr Lyons.

Healthcare UK’s latest business plan sets annual targets for business wins for UK healthcare totalling £500 million for 2014/15 and £650 million for 2015/16, rising to £1.5 billion in 2020/21.