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Britain's NHS looks to expand abroad

The National Health Service seeks to join the ranks of the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins.

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Britain's NHS is going global. (Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

The Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins are two US health care brands that successfully expanded abroad. Now, Britain's government would like the National Health Service (NHS) to follow their lead.

Giving a gentle push of encouragement, Britain's government expressed their desire to see the NHS brand try and sell their services to other countries in Europe and elsewhere, an attempt to pump some much needed cash into the NHS system, reports the Guardian. The brands of well-known hospitals including Great Ormond Street, the Royal Marsden, and Moorfields Eye Hospital were believed to present the best opportunity at success. Already, Moorfields Eye Hospital maintains a clinic in Dubai, reports the Independent.

Supporters of the idea, including David Stout, the deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, believe money generated abroad, which is supposed to be redirected to Britain, will help improve the services Brits receive at home. Others, like Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, don't agree. 

"At a time of huge upheaval in the health service, when waiting times are rising and trusts are being asked to make £20bn of efficiency savings, this is another concerning distraction, Murphy told the Independent. "The priority of the Government, hospital trusts, and clinicians should be NHS patients."

As a caveat and a possible move to ensure there will be no upheaval by taxpayers, investment for the projects can only come from income generated from private patients. One of the motivations behind this idea: the belief that in the future, rich foreign patients, especially from the Gulf, will prefer to be treated at home than traveling overseas for procedures.

A few noted areas of interest include India, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and of course, China.  

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