MedCity & NHSA call on government to appoint life sciences minister

Life sciences organisations MedCity and the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) have called upon the newly formed government to reinstate a life sciences minister.

The life sciences industry contributes billion to UK economy every year and supports almost half a million jobs.

The position for a life minister was created in 2014 by David Cameron. The role was filled by George Freeman until July 2016 but has since been allocated across several different ministerial portfolios.

Now, MedCity and the NHSA are calling upon the government to reinstate the position.

Dr Hakim Yadi, CEO of the NHSA said: “After a turbulent year the new government must act swiftly to reassure industry of its commitment to supporting life sciences through an economic strategy for growth.

“As a priority to guide the sector the new government should reinstate the post of life sciences minister. The life sciences sector has been hampered on delivering important projects because of uncertainty, post-EU referendum, which has seen a series of policy implementations pushed back with a resultant stifling effect on the economy.

“There is an opportunity with Brexit for new approaches to regulation and greater collaboration with the Commonwealth and other countries. To minimise any negative impact we are calling on the new government to re-instate a life sciences minister, as a priority to guide the industry.”

CEO of MedCity, Sarah Haywood, said: “It is crucial, now more than ever, that we have a strong life sciences voice in Government. As we go into Brexit negotiations, we need a dedicated Minister who will fight for the sector; to help the UK retain its thousands of talented scientists, improve the regulatory framework, and maintain access to funding.

“The UK has been a powerhouse of scientific innovation for more than eight centuries and this is not going to disappear. We continue to have outstanding research centres, a rich research ecosystem, and globally recognised universities and hospitals. But it is important that we get this right; for scientists, for patients, and for the economy. The Government has long-backed life sciences and, by reinstating a life sciences minister, we can avoid more delays and uncertainties, and the potential negative impact on the sector as we leave the EU.”

Dr Yadi continued: “Brexit has led to uncertainty.  Access to European grant funding and the flow of talented students, academics and skilled workers from the EU into UK universities, laboratories and companies are a major concern. The departure of the European Medicine Authority from the UK post-Brexit will not only lead to job losses ‎but may result in delays in new medicines reaching UK patients.”

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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