England’s 2nd City–Birmingham. Who knew?
|July 11, 2013||Posted by Anharris under Health, Innovation, Life Science, Technology|
Was quite impressed with a June 11, 2013 presentation in which representatives from Birmingham, England, described offerings to encourage US and other business to locate there. Had thought of Birmingham as an old, industrial city–but did not realize it is England’s second largest city (after London)–and a tech center in its own right.
As its Investment Director Wouter Schuitemaker pointed out, Birmingham boasts more than 80,000 companies and is especially proud of sustaining the highest level of growth in the UK, especially in the food, environmental and advanced manufacturing sectors.The topic of the day, however, was the city’s burgeoning as a life sciences sector–which, according to Birmingham literature, has seen a 40% increase in businesses since 2005. The city now employs nearly 22, 000 in the life sciences –more than Cambridge (UK), Liverpool, or Edinburgh; it is home to such large firms AltaBioscience, Netrak Health PLC, Aspen Medical, Alert Life Sciences, Salts Healthcare Ltd. and Binding Site.
According to Hilary Fanning, Deputy Director of Delivery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, of University Hospitals Birmingham, the city shines regarding to clinical training and research, informatics and IT, and quality of care.
- The University of Birmingham hosts the largest cluster of clinical trials of any city in Europe. It has the largest clinical trial center in the UK and Europe–and draws on a highly diverse, stable population under age 25, and the first Research UK National Children’s Cancer Trials team.
- Birmingham Children’s hospital is home to the UK’s largest children intensive care unit, which is the only pediatric magnetoencephalograpy (MEG) scanner in Europe–one of three in the world.
- The city boasts five universities within its limits, 15 within an hour’s drive. also e. It offers grants for organizations seeking to set up shop, there.
Fanning also described what she termed a ” novel comprehensive digital framework” which incorporates a region-wide clinical trials platform, trial acceleration for early drug delivery, as well as patient centric care for mental health, chronic disease, and drug safety. The region has launched a drive to study dementia, and it is using informatics and data to drive quality, she said. For 98% of outpatients, there are no paper records; online record keeping shows missed doses of antibiotics and clinical teams are called to account if patients miss too many doses. Lab services are fully automated.
New technologies available in the University Hospitals include a “cyber knife.” There 32 operating theaters; 100 critical care beds; and the hospital can handle level 4 massive clinical trauma–and university research labs are integrated to do clinical trials;
Other calling cards for life sciences companies considering locating or expanding to Birmingham include various funds for investment, training and recruitment; a business development program, infrastructure and access, and a speeded-up planning process.
But what especially impressed me –as a citizen in a country apparently terrified of federal involvement in health care–was that all of this is being accomplished under a national health system– yes, a single payer system–established by the government.
The presentation was organized by England Development Agency ( EDAgency), a US company that helps US businesses expand to or locate in the UK, and UK companies set up in the US. It was held at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Cambridge, MA.
—Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations and digital marketing firm located in Cambridge, MA.