Healthcare theme policies and campaigns

Engineering and technology are vital to promote health, fitness and wellbeing. With a global population set to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and the expectation of longer, healthier and more active lives, we recognise the importance of engineering in helping people achieve this.

It is vital that we invest in the health of our population, not only because good health is desirable, but also because it is an important determinant of economic growth and competitiveness.

Biomedical Engineering

The integration of engineering with medical and biological knowledge of the human body is the domain of the biomedical engineer. Biomedical engineering is one of the fastest growing, diverse, and relatively new areas of engineering spanning the care of the new-born at one end of life to the independent living aids for the elderly at the other. Biomedical engineers work in areas such as:

  • Ageing & wellbeing 
  • Sport and exercise
  • Robotic surgery 
  • Orthopaedics
  • Ergonomics 
  •  Rehabilitation
  • Neurosensory devices 
  • Monitoring and sensing disease

Through technological advancements, biomedical engineers are creating solutions to previously insurmountable problems, allowing people to enjoy an improved quality of life.

Biomedical Engineering and the NHS

The NHS sees about 1 million patients every 36 hours, or 243 million per annum, and has a budget allocation of £113bn (2014/15). That’s 8.46% of the UK’s GDP or £1,994 per person in England. The NHS must find £20bn in efficiency savings by the end of 2015; a target it has been unable to achieve, so far.

With over £500 million being spent on the procurement of medical equipment, little has been done to create efficiencies.  As engineers we recognise that better management of medical technology could achieve considerable savings. Yet the presence and significance of biomedical engineering and the role it can play within the NHS is often poorly understood. 

Technology is one of the key enabling mechanisms for the NHS to meet the demands of safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness, and biomedical engineers are in a strong position to influence future procurement and reduce the UK’s healthcare deficit.

Engineering better healthcare

The Institution is recognised as a key thought-leader across the biomedical engineering sector; providing guidance to government agencies, healthcare professionals, and the media.  We are bringing together key stakeholders from both the medical and engineering industries to discuss latest technological advances, establish effective policy and influence best-practice across a wide range of healthcare topics. Our aim is to:

  • Establish biomedical engineering as a distinct discipline across all healthcare sectors
  • Encourage faster development & commercialisation of new innovative healthcare technology 
  • Demonstrate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medical equipment

Supporting technological advances, stimulating economic growth and competitiveness through engineering, will improve healthcare in the UK and define Britain’s global influence in biomedical engineering.

hands yeh?

Campaign: Engineering Solutions for the NHS

We are campaigning to raise awareness of the work and value of engineers within the NHS. We are calling for a position of Chief Biomedical Engineer to be created at every NHS acute Trust, similar to Chief Nurse or Chief Medical Officer.

Learn about the campaign

Dr Helen Meese CEng MIMechE

Healthcare policy spokesperson

Helen joined the Institution in 2013 as Head of Engineering in Society and became Head of Healthcare in November 2015. She works to raise the profile of mechanical engineering, focusing on innovative and emerging technologies and how they impact on healthcare, both in the UK and internationally.

Read Helen's full biography

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