HEALTH Minister Earl Howe has praised Sheffield’s hospitals’ growing link with the manufacturing industry as a ‘model’ for the health service.
The Conservative peer, junior minister with special responsibilities for research and dentistry, visited the city’s Charles Clifford Dental Hospital yesterday.
Touring the hospital’s dental school, he visited research labs and heard about the growing links between the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Park at Waverley.
“I was very interested to hear about the links with manufacturing in Sheffield,” he told The Star.
“Composite materials that are being developed for aircraft and other applications having a clinical application is very impressive.
“We are also hearing about applications for osteo-arthiritis and orthapaedic uses.
“The advantages are clear if links can be forged between industry and the NHS.”
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals chief executive Sir Andrew Cash, in a separate interview with The Star, said: “We are looking at greater networking - hospitals working with universities and with industry to start job creation.
“We are looking at doing things in a different way to begin to create jobs, to create a strong health technology economy around us.
“Why couldn’t we have a medical innovation centre here, similar to the Advanced Manufacturing Park?”
Hospital bosses also quizzed Earl Howe about funding changes brought about by the political shakeup of the NHS.
Prof Paul Speight, dean of the dentistry school, said: “We are always worried that dentistry is going to get lost somewhere. We are worried it will compromise our ability to continue to focus on training.”
Earl Howe promised to clarify the finding position.