Since 2017, the NHSA has developed strong ties with the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA) and the UK Israel Tech Hub. Israel is a significant partner for the NHS, supplying 1 in 7 of all medicines. It has a strong track-record of cooperating with the UK effectively to tackle and address global health challenges. The country has a high-innovation economy with some truly ground-breaking technology which has huge potential to improve lives for patients in the UK. The North of England, with its excellence in clinical trials, universities and health research, offers a mutually beneficial environment in which to bring this technology into market. The potential of the two systems working closely together to address healthcare challenges was recognised quickly.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the NHSA and the IIA in May 2022, following a number of successful visits between the two countries. Over 50 companies have since been in touch with us following the agreement, including a UK-Israel Innovation Healthtech Gateway.
One of the partnerships to have been developed is between Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust (RDaSH) and Israeli tech company Taliaz. Their collaboration will see UK patients’ mental health treatment supported by Taliaz’s artificial intelligence (AI) software platform PREDICTIX. Combining medical science with AI, PREDICTIX translates complex genetic, demographic and clinical patient data into time-saving and cost-saving assessment, management and prescribing support tools for healthcare providers. PREDICTIX improves first-time prescribing success, both saving time and costs for the NHS mental health services.
The partnership is timely – we have already demonstrated how the need for innovation and vital investment in mental health across the North of England is crucial. The Parallel Pandemic report found that mental health in the North was significantly worse than the rest of England over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic – with an enormous £2bn cost to the country. The collaboration is also part of the first phase of the soon to be launched ‘Northern Innovation Accelerator for Mental Health’, which hopes to see similar successes replicated nationwide as part of the NHSA’s levelling up agenda.
We are now throwing down the gauntlet for NHSA members to collaborate with innovative Israeli companies to solve key healthcare challenges. Our member organisations are being supported to select Israeli start-ups of interest and bid for project funding to run R&D or pilot projects – and 15 companies have now been shortlisted. The organisations will act as real-world living laboratories for the companies to test and improve an existing process, service, or product; or to apply a new process to healthcare for the first time.
The UK’s partnership with Israel has been recognised at Government level as relationship of significant importance. Earlier this week the UK Foreign Secretary and Israeli Foreign Minister signed the 2030 Roadmap for UK-Israeli Bilateral Relations, boosting economic, security and technology ties. Adopting a thematic approach, the Roadmap contains detailed commitments for deepening cooperation across the breadth of the Israel-UK relationship, including on trade, cyber, science and tech, research and development, security, health, climate and gender. The Government’s Policy Paper detailed the existing successes of the NHSA’s long standing partnership, and we are thrilled that our dual achievements have ben recognised at this level.
We will continue to bring cutting-edge solutions to health problems to the UK and keep the North firmly as a global leader in the research, development and evaluation of health technologies. Our partnerships are going from strength to strength, thanks to our shared values, a passion for excellence and driving forward innovation to improve healthcare. We look forward to continuing to work with our international counterparts in further improving healthcare for patients in the North and beyond.
Hannah Davies, Head of External Affairs
Dr Ben Martyn, Cluster Development Manager