There is a danger in thinking that all political work has ground to a halt as the Government – and indeed politicians of all-party persuasions – focus on Brexit and the deal that’s required.
Amongst all the EU withdrawal hullabaloo, the Government’s recent ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’ might have been overlooked, however it’s an incredibly important document. As it suggests, this is all about how the Government intends to ‘improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes’ over the next decade, but you might also suspect that the foundations laid during this period will last for many years after.
This type of plan greatly interests all of us at Deepbridge, given our focus on investing in not just life sciences’ business but those firms that are utilising new, and existing, technology in order to deliver (and improve) the efficiencies which are going to shape the NHS over the next 10 years and beyond.
Interestingly, there are over a hundred references to ‘digital’ or ‘digitally’ within the plan, plus nearly a hundred references to ‘prevent’ or ‘prevention’. For many, it is difficult to objectively discuss the role of private enterprise in the provision of national healthcare, particularly in relation to the NHS, but we believe it is likely to be private companies who will push the technological frontier, across any number of health-related areas, and it will be the products and services they are developing and trialling now which will – to a very great extent – end up delivering those efficiencies that the Government wants to see.
These companies of course need investment, resource and support – many are new start-ups. Others are more established and have proof of concept. Some are already active and are selling their services/products, but need to look at the wider markets and opportunities that are available.
This is where EIS – and SEIS – funding can be a vital ingredient, allowing investors to access these firms within the health sector and potentially benefit from, what could be, some major successes. We work with a growing number of these healthcare-focused companies who use technology to deliver digitisation, whether that be in data processes, diagnoses, supply chains, treatment and prevention.
In a global market, with worldwide healthcare funding estimated by Deloitte to reach £8.7 trillion by 2020*, it is these businesses that will ultimately bring about the healthcare efficiencies required to take our healthcare service into a new era. Investors, and advisers, who would like to play their part, should contact us to see how we can help them do this.
Andrew Aldridge is Partner, Head of Marketing at Deepbridge Capital
*Source: Deloitte; 2017 Global Life Sciences Sector Outlook