Prime Minister’s speech on life sciences
12 December 2011
Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost, response to the Prime Minister's speech.
There was much for a leading biomedical university like UCL to welcome in the Prime Minister’s speech last week on the life sciences, and in the three accompanying policy papers.
Indeed, UCL activity was noted in at least five instances in the speech itself. Of the other papers, the most significant is a review of innovation in the NHS, committed to improving patient outcomes, improving quality of treatment and increasing productivity. It recognises that “the NHS is full of brilliant people with brilliant ideas”, and a long track record of innovation and creativity. Yet the spread of innovation across the NHS has been slow, and sometimes even the best has failed to achieve widespread adoption.
Amongst other proposals, the paper recognises the success of academic health science centres such as UCL Partners and proposes rolling the model out more widely across the UK. The idea is to develop new innovation partnerships between NHS institutions, universities, the third sector and local authorities to drive the diffusion of innovation. The policy understands – and argues strongly for it - that forging a much closer relationship between the UK’s leading universities and the NHS can make a major contribution to improving patient care. The new policy sets out the opportunities and provides some of the necessary incentives.