What does a post COVID world look like for the medical technology industry?

The start of the Covid pandemic caused some panic on all sides. In addition to the fear for life and loved ones, it became increasingly apparent that we were woefully unprepared. As a result, people began to pull together to cope.

‘Scrub hubs’ began springing up as anyone with a sewing machine started making scrubs and washing bags for healthcare professionals. Local communities rallied around to support the vulnerable, ensuring they had all the essentials they needed and had important daily contact, even through windows and by phone.

Here at Morgan IAT, we also responded immediately to the call to supply ventilators to meet the increased need from the pandemic. Our CEO, Nigel Clarke and his team proactively contacted the government and existing ventilator manufacturers to offer services, from reverse osmosis machines to PPE for frontline NHS staff.

Shortages in medical technology during the pandemic

For the medical technology industry, there was an immediate shortage of ventilators across the world. In the UK, a report at the end of 2020 from the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee concluded that NHS England and NHS Improvement didn’t even know how many ventilators the NHS already had. When they did access this information, there were over 50,000 less than they feared they would need.

Recovering from the pandemic

As the world looks beyond the pandemic in the hope of the end in sight, supply problems will inevitably continue as a backlog in production of a range of medical devices stems from the shift in focus during crisis mode and a rush of patients as the world returns to a ‘new normal.’
In the UK, Brexit’s additional complication provides extra challenges in supply and distribution as discussions and negotiations continue between governments within the EU and beyond.

Planning for the future

If nothing else, this has been a harsh lesson in being more prepared for the future. As a result, the Department of Health and Social Care is creating a new medical technologies directorate after the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities within the government and distribution and global supply chains.

The new directorate will zero in on six key areas:

  • Resilient supply chains
  • Value for money
  • Regulation of safe, high-quality products
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation to improve clinical outcomes
  • Promoting UK interests in global markets.

There is hope in focusing on these main areas; there will be no need for a ‘code red’ situation should future crises occur. In addition, this is an excellent way to be more self-sufficient within the UK, promote UK medical technology around the world, and be better prepared for any eventuality moving forward, as society takes fewer ‘certainties’ for granted.

At Morgan IAT, we’re confident that with the proper support, the UK can expand on its reputation as a centre of innovation in developing and manufacturing medical technology and boost production to overcome supply issues on-demand moving forward.