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International innovations that are cutting spiralling healthcare costs can lead the way to a more sustainable health service, says Lord Ara Darzi, Chairman, Institute of Global Health Innovation. The most pressing health issues, from ageing populations to non-communicable diseases, are common to many countries and require fresh, innovative solutions that leapfrog those that are business as usual.

On Wednesday, 1 August the Global Health Policy Summit will attempt to do just that. The expertise of Imperial College London, will combine with an international pool of specialists and decision makers in health, business and policy to develop practical solutions in partnership with the Qatar Foundation.

Strikingly, the most innovative ideas are originating not from developed countries but from lower income nations such as Mexico, where junior staff conduct repetitive elements of eye surgery, leaving costly complex procedures to highly skilled ophthalmologists. The launch summit will showcase and drive the next steps for such international healthcare innovation to be transformed into scalable solutions. Lord Darzi argues that such ‘task-shifting’ in the NHS has already enabled nurses to prescribe drugs, but it needs to be more extensive to really benefit from it.

Lord Darzi writes in the Health Service Journal that the challenge is to bring some of the innovative energy of India, Mexico and Brazil to the UK, whilst maintaining the equitable healthcare for which we are rightly, and internationally, renowned.

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