Developing and growing an NHS organisation’s international strategy can be both complex and politically sensitive. However, international commercial work ultimately offers the opportunity to improve NHS services in many ways. Through careful planning, continuous evaluation and with the help of various support mechanisms, many NHS organisations will be able to benefit from international involvement at a level of scale that fits with their capacity and ambitions. This guide provides hints and tips.
Prior to the pandemic, the NHS Confederation's international team worked with members of its international special interest group (SIG) and HealthcareUK to produce a peer learning guide for NHS organisations interested in exporting their expertise to overseas markets.
International commercial activity provides more than just financial benefits: it can support a number of strategic objectives, including opening up research opportunities and supporting recruitment, retention and professional development.
This guide aims to support NHS organisations that are considering undertaking or expanding their international commercial work, now or in the future. It explores what has motivated particular NHS organisations in England to get involved in international commercial activity, how they developed their international offer, and the successes and challenges they have faced so far.
The guide offers 7 key recommendations for organisations to consider when developing their international commercial strategy, with information on the formal support available from government, such as Healthcare UK, (which is part-funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for International Trade), from external agencies (such as The United Kingdom International Healthcare Management Association) and from collaboration between the NHS and other organisations (such as the NHS Northumbria International Alliance).