Calling Healthcare Companies

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 11, 2006 | Go to article overview

Calling Healthcare Companies


Are you a healthcare or life science company? Seeking to grow? Do you need funding, skills or supply chain support? New market opportunities? If so, read on --

The CELS Healthcare Network is a membership organisation open to all healthcare companies in North-East England. It was created to support, strengthen and grow the region's healthcare sector ( and is proving popular with business leaders.

Already close to signing its 100th member, the network includes the full spectrum of regional healthcare companies, with members active in assistive technology, biologics, health informatics and medical devices.

Mike Hartley, project director at CELS, who has been responsible for establishing the organisation, said: "We provide an environment where ideas can be conceived, opportunities recognised, new relationships forged and thoughts provoked. Our single over-riding aim is to support and grow regional healthcare organisations".

The Healthcare Network is backed with funding from the regional development agency One NorthEast (ONE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). There is a full and ambitious programme of activities and events for members. In October, a regional delegation travelled to Dusseldorf for Rehacare ( a global trade fair for rehabilitation and assistive technology products.

A few weeks later, a second delegation returned to Germany for Medica, the world's largest exhibition for healthcare and medical technology ( and upcoming missions will visit China, the Middle East and the USA.

Such visits promote the region's strengths in key industry areas and present companies with new sales opportunities.

On skills, the Healthcare Network team worked with One NorthEast on a region-wide healthcare skills survey to identify key issues, block points and opportunities, prior to launching a series of initiatives to benefit future growth. The team also undertakes skills audits and assessments for individual healthcare companies to assist with subjects such as recruitment, succession planning, graduate retention and training.

A detailed benchmarking study has also been held to identify the precise number of jobs and the annual turnover of the regional healthcare economy, which will be repeated each year to monitor its growth and important sub-sectoral trends.

A parallel series of studies is analysing the current customer base of regional healthcare companies. This will identify existing trade patterns and priority overseas markets for future growth ( and will be followed by a strengthening of relations with the markets concerned, which could mean anything from a formal economic agreement (such as the one signed by One NorthEast and the Shanghai region of China) to reciprocal working links with individual healthcare and bio-clusters in target cities and regions.

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