On 22 March, 120 healthcare experts from India and the UK met at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to discuss working collaboratively to address challenges faced in the healthcare sector, in both countries.
The main objectives of the conference were to provide a forum to widen and enrich the healthcare research and innovation debate; deliberate upon workforce challenges, and hold meaningful discussions on the scale of exchange and; discuss past and current approach to healthcare.
The conference was led by the High Commission of India through the Consulate General of India, Birmingham, and was supported by University Hospitals Birmingham, NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
The conference was chaired by Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair UHB Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and speakers included, India and UK healthcare experts, specialist in life sciences, members of parliament and senior academics.
Delegates also heard from Andy Street, Mayor West Midlands and Chris Loughran, Deputy Chair, GBSLEP.
Chris Loughran focused on the benefits of working in partnership and said that Greater Birmingham was the right place to invest in clinical research and innovation. Noting Greater Birmingham’s welcoming infrastructure, access to centres of academic and clinical excellence, specialist translational facilities and data for a large, diverse patient population.
Andy Street said that life sciences are a key pillar of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Local Industrial Strategy. Through the work being done by institutions like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other universities in the region, he added he was confident it is an area the West Midlands could be renowned for.
Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Birmingham in his closing remarks announced that this Conference is likely to become an annual feature. In his address Dr.Puri said:
Indians form the single largest group amongst foreign origin healthcare professionals serving in the NHS. No doubt, they can become the catalyst for taking UK – India collaboration to another level.