Swindon-based outsourced health services group Synergy Health is taking part in the largest-ever British health and social care delegation to China.
More than 50 individuals from 38 British companies, universities and training hospitals, including Synergy, are looking to forge new relationships and partnerships to take advantage of the vast expansion and modernisation of the Chinese healthcare system.
The delegation, led by Cabinet Minister without Portfolio Kenneth Clarke, aims to build solid business relationships by establishing the necessary political links with Beijing and other parts of China to unlock trading and investment opportunities.
Synergy Health, which specialises in sterilising medical devices and equipment and providing linen services, opened a sterile service facility in Suzhou in 2009, and now provides a service to over 50 healthcare institutions across China.
It sees the emerging economic powerhouse as a major market for its services as health spending increases in tandem with a growing middle class.
Before leaving the UK earlier this week, Mr Clarke said: “I am very happy to be leading another delegation of excellent British companies to China, which will build on the progress made by the Prime Minster when he visited in November. The British healthcare system is the best in the world, and there will be important export opportunities as China invests huge sums of money in its healthcare system over the years ahead.
“Healthcare and life sciences are among the strongest sectors of the British economy and our standards are held in high regard overseas. As a country, we must play to our strengths if we are to continue to build a healthy, modern economy, and there can be no doubt that exports in this area will play an important part. From building a hospital to training the staff to building the IT and management systems, the UK has the expertise that China needs as it builds a healthcare system that is projected to be spending a trillion dollars every year by 2020.”
The Chinese healthcare market has been identified as a ‘high-value opportunity’ by the UK Government, and Mr Clarke has been leading the work to promote British interests there since March 2013. Over the course of the visit, he will witness several agreement signings at government to government and business to business level.
Chinese health spending has soared from 1% of GDP in 2002 to 5.15% today, with scope for much more to be invested in coming years. Health spending in China is projected to reach a trillion US dollars by 2020.
The delegation is holding meetings in Beijing, Tianjin, Nanjing, Zhejiang and will end in Shanghai on Friday.