Press Release: Life Sciences organisations MedCity and the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) have issued a joint call for the re-instatement of a life sciences minister by the new government.

Both organisations drive life science investment and innovation in the UK. MedCity across Cambridge, London and Oxford and  the NHSA across eight cities in the North of England.

Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, CEO of the NHSA said: “After a turbulent year the new government must act swiftly to reassure industry of its commitment to supporting life sciences through an economic strategy for growth.

“As a priority to guide the sector the new government should reinstate the post of life sciences minister. The life sciences sector has been hampered on delivering important projects because of uncertainty, post-EU referendum, which has seen a series of policy implementations pushed back with a resultant stifling effect on the economy.

“There is an opportunity with Brexit for new approaches to regulation and greater collaboration with the Commonwealth and other countries. To minimise any negative impact we are calling on the new government to re-instate a life sciences minister, as a priority to guide the industry.”

Sarah Haywood, CEO, MedCity said: “It is crucial, now more than ever, that we have a strong life sciences voice in Government. As we go into Brexit negotiations, we need a dedicated Minister who will fight for the sector; to help the UK retain its thousands of talented scientists, improve the regulatory framework, and maintain access to funding.

The UK has been a powerhouse of scientific innovation for more than eight centuries and this is not going to disappear. We continue to have outstanding research centres, a rich research ecosystem, and globally recognised universities and hospitals. But it is important that we get this right; for scientists, for patients, and for the economy. The Government has long-backed life sciences and, by reinstating a life sciences minister, we can avoid more delays and uncertainties, and the potential negative impact on the sector as we leave the EU.”

In 2015 the Life Sciences industry contributed £30bn to the UK economy, today it supports 480,000 jobs.

In 2014 the then prime minister David Cameron, created the world’s first dedicated life sciences minister, a role filled by George Freeman MP until July 2016. The post has since been allocated across a number of different ministerial portfolios.

Dr Yadi continued: “Brexit has led to uncertainty.  Access to European grant funding and the flow of talented students, academics and skilled workers from the EU into UK universities, laboratories and companies are a major concern. The departure of the European Medicine Authority from the UK post-Brexit will not only lead to job losses ‎but may result in delays in new medicines reaching UK patients.”

ENDS

The NHSA ltd is a partnership established by the leading Universities and NHS Hospital Trusts in the North of England to improve the health and wealth of the region by creating an internationally recognised life science and healthcare system. It links eight universities and eight research-intensive NHS Teaching Trusts with four Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs covering a population of over 15 million.

For more information on the NHSA visit www.theNHSA.co.uk