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The AHSN Network: supporting health-tech companies to access international markets

24 February 2020 | Suzanne Ali-Hassan
The AHSN Network, in partnership with the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), supported a number of UK companies to fulfil their export agenda and attend the international conference, Arab Health in Dubai, UAE.

The Network has been working with the ABHI for a number of years, collaborating with them on their international programme which includes attendance at global trade shows and missions.  

So why do we do this? The AHSNs are incredibly positioned to identify and support innovative, British healthtech companies to engage with the NHS and guide their route to procurement. Recognising the NHS can be a challenging market, we also want to ensure UK companies have access to opportunities overseas which may enable them to generate revenue more quickly and grow. We are in fact commissioned to support economic growth through the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), within the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which makes this opportunity all the more important.  

Why Arab Health?

This conference is the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region. The 2020 show had over 105,000 visitors and 4,200 exhibiting companies from 64 countries. Along with the ABHI and the AHSN Network, we had additional UK representation from over 150 UK companies, the Department for International Trade (DIT) and NHS Digital, among others. This was a UK delegation uniting to represent opportunities for trade and export within healthcare.

UCLPartners and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN represented the AHSN network at this event and were able to talk on the wider opportunities with the NHS. I was kindly invited to join other UK delegates on a panel about ‘Learning Health Systems’ alongside representatives from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. This was an incredible opportunity to share what the NHS is doing well, as well as learn from other, newer health systems about how to use data in its most progressive sense.  Noel Gordon, Chair of NHS Digital, led the panel, along with Sam Shah, Global Clinical and Digital Advisor for DIT.

The AHSN Network were an important component at Arab Health, helping organisations gain a deep understanding of how to access the NHS market but also sharing their experience of effective scale in the NHS.

Sam Shah

All of the UK companies the AHSN network recruited to be part of Arab Health reported positive experiences of the show and there will be further insights shared from Simple Shared Healthcare, ORCHA, Fundamental VR, C2-Ai, Aseptika Ltd. and 3d Metal Printing. We managed to get some time with the Managing Director of Medovate Ltd, Stuart Thomson, at the event to share his experiences–

What’s next?

The AHSN Network will continue to support these events, also taking the opportunity to showcase the amazing health research landscape we have to offer in the UK. We have incredible assets here and brands like the NHS and NICE have global recognition. The NHS is the world’s largest single payer for healthcare and provides a substantial market for any international healthcare company. We want to partner with international companies and health systems to support inward investment and share learning over global health challenges.

So how can we support this?

The AHSNs are in a prime position to support international companies land in the UK and add value to the NHS and the UK economy. We hold insight and expertise in accessing the NHS market, and provide a soft landing for companies wanting to set up their business in the UK and understand the ecosystem. UCLPartners in particular has a unique set of assets which include not only the AHSN but also an Academic Health Science Centre, our local NIHR Clinical Research Network and local NIHR Applied Research Collaborative providing a complete pathway from invention through to adoption of a new technology by the health system. The wider AHSN network represents all of England and we can triage enquiries through to relevant opportunities and research infrastructure.

How do you get involved?

If there are any UK healthtech companies interested in joining next year’s Arab Health please get in touch as we are already organising plans for 2021!  We will also be attending shows in Europe and US if other markets are more of interest.

Also, if any international companies are interested in our services supporting market access we would be delighted to help.

You can contact us for more information at