BD highlights importance of enduring partnership between HealthTech and government


Publish date: May 28, 2020

Reacting to swift change is hard for any business. All of us in the UK, including the health technology industry, are at the centre of arguably the greatest challenge to have faced our economy, society and health services since World War II.

How we handle it is crucial, as is the continued support needed for our healthcare system. Making our way through this journey, back to some semblance of normality, is done alongside our continuing commitment to the NHS.

The terrific partnership we have seen continue to develop and deliver recently between industry and government will need to endure, once the initial crisis has subsided. HealthTech will help lead the way in innovation, whilst working with others to develop best future working practices to ensure the safety of both patients and healthcare professionals. 

Ramping up track and trace currently appears to be the most viable way out of lockdown. The commitment from the government to support good quality testing, is hugely welcome. Also welcome is the enthusiasm with which this challenge has been met across the life sciences sector and wider industry. 

For those of us in diagnostics, the eyes of the world are on us as never before, from political leaders to health workers, employers, and patients. Businesses like BD must show the ingenuity, collaboration and energy, which is needed to meet this mission. The challenge is perhaps greater for the HealthTech industry to deliver rapidly on screening, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.  

HealthTech will need to consider the following three areas for how businesses in our sector will deliver. 

Firstly, we must show an unprecedented degree of flexibility and ingenuity, not just in research and innovation, but harnessing capability wherever it lies. Delivering new, effective products at the huge volumes and international reach required will demand us to be more agile and open-minded. In addition, we must make available our expertise in automation, which offers solutions for much of the pre-existing workforce and patient safety related challenges. 

Secondly, we must be ambitious and optimistic in our search for solutions, but frank and transparent sharing both the learnings and the limitations of our work. Patients do not need false starts or empty promises. It is only through honest appraisal and collaboration that we really advance scientific discovery towards what we need. 

Thirdly, we must be a constructive and problem-solving partner to the UK government. As we move through the initial period and first peak of this crisis, we will enter another phase where operating models for our health services, businesses and societies may remain unclear for a while.  

From supplies of diagnostic instruments to COVID-19 test kits, and innovations in product design and manufacturing, we are showing just how much can be achieved when government and our sector apply themselves to common goals. This kind of partnership needs to be a legacy from COVID-19 if we are to deliver the substantially enlarged and empowered diagnostics industry in the UK in the future. 

I have no doubt we will continue to earn the respect of policy-makers, health workers and the public in the weeks ahead, delivering today while also being solutions-focussed about how we design a diagnostics industrial strategy for the longer term.

About the Author

Mike Fairbourn

Mike Fairbourn is Vice President and General Manager of UK and Ireland for BD. He has been a member of the ABHI Board since 2016.

Previously, Mike was VP for UK and Ireland for CareFusion, prior to BD’s acquisition in March 2015.

Mike holds a BSc in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Reading.

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Keeping connected has never been more important than it is right now. Healthcare providers around the world are adapting to ever-changing circumstances with resilience and BD is committed to partnering with providers, governments and key players to advance the world of health.

About BD

BD is one of the largest global medical technology companies in the world and is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. The company supports the heroes on the frontlines of health care by developing innovative technology, services and solutions that help advance both clinical therapy for patients and clinical process for health care providers. BD and its 75,000 employees have a passion and commitment to help enhance the safety and efficiency of clinicians' care delivery process, enable laboratory scientists to accurately detect disease and advance researchers' capabilities to develop the next generation of diagnostics and therapeutics. BD has a presence in virtually every country and partners with organizations around the world to address some of the most challenging global health issues. By working in close collaboration with customers, BD can help enhance outcomes, lower costs, increase efficiencies, improve safety and expand access to health care. For more information on BD, please visit or connect with us on LinkedIn at and Twitter @BDandCo.



Troy Kirkpatrick

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