We are all facing unprecedented challenges with the Covid-19 crisis. Our UK Lifescience industry has always been on the front line when it comes to responding to the changing needs of healthcare delivery but never before has this been more visible than in the current Covid-19 crisis.
We have member companies working around the clock, producing the complete range of medical devices required to keep people alive and restore health, whether this be manufacturing ventilators or precision engineered component parts, producing bed head trunking with built in oxygen points, nurse call systems, ICU beds/equipment etc. Companies are also rapidly re-purposing manufacturing to supply urgently needed PPE equipment.
Population wide coronavirus testing (antigen and antibody) will be essential if we are to get back to normal life and we are proud of our member companies who are working 24/7 to develop the required tests, partnering with UK researchers and utilising specialist university laboratories and test houses to develop and test the effectiveness of the new coronavirus tests before they are deployed. We also have some of the world’s best pharmaceutical companies based in the UK, going all out to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus.
Of course, we recognise that whilst some companies are at the centre of the fight to combat coronavirus, others are experiencing a dramatic downturn in demand, with, for example, elective surgery being cancelled and related products no longer being required in the short term. This resulting in employees in affected industries being furloughed. Another group of members that are ‘feeling the pain’ are innovative start-up companies which have seen important trials in the NHS postponed and are unable to access the next round of investment without clinical data.
Working from home for many of us, particularly those who are working 24/7 in providing Covid-19 interventions (whilst at the same time looking after and educating children), is clearly a very stressful situation, but you have only to look at the sacrifices that our frontline NHS and carers are taking ‘day in’ and ‘day out’, to recognise that we are all in this together, the Government, NHS staff & carers, researchers and last but not least the Lifescience industry.
Medilink was founded on the principle that when you bring together, in a formal partnership, healthcare delivery organisations (unmet need), lifescience companies (innovation and supply) and universities (research and technology), it is possible to fast- track developments, and this is more important now than ever before, if we are to respond to unprecedented supply deadlines.
Medilink, in regions across the UK are providing urgently needed connectivity, whether this be in creating consortia to develop new solutions (coronavirus testing, ventilators etc.), facilitating the supply of urgently needed equipment such as PPE to the NHS/Care organisations, working in conjunction with government agencies such as DIT, or in communicating the urgent needs of members directly to government to support new grant initiatives. Furthermore, we have created a regularly updated coronavirus resource library (http://www.medilink.co.uk/covid-19-help-and-advice/) so that companies are informed of the latest developments with priority products required by the NHS, business support schemes and coronavirus funding e.g. the Future Fund which will be launched in May.
Each year we recognise and celebrate the achievements of the UK Lifescience industry, at our annual Medilink Lifescience Business Awards dinner, but unfortunately this had to be postponed this year and rescheduled for 28th September 2020. So we would like to take this opportunity to applaud the outstanding work being undertaken across our membership base (NHS, university and industry members) during the coronavirus crisis, which without a doubt is saving lives. Our Medilink teams across the UK are on hand to assist you at this difficult time.