UK medical products manufacturer Vernacare has agreed a five-year supply deal with Manipal, one of Asia's largest healthcare management groups, which will create 30 new jobs.
Vernacare expects sales in India to exceed £11 million over the next three years and is exploring the creation of an Indian manufacturing base to underpin growth.
Manipal Healthcare is the first hospital group in India to introduce Vernacare's environmentally friendly single-use infection prevention system, which reduces the risk of cross infection when toileting and washing patients. This is considered the gold standard globally – raising standards of patient care and increasing productivity.
The long-term supply agreement was announced during a trade delegation to India - led by UK Prime Minister Theresa May - her first bilateral visit made outside the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This is fantastic news for Vernacare whose state-of-the-art products help save lives across the world every day. Already operating in 96 per cent of hospitals in the UK – I hope the Vernacare will continue to go from strength to strength at home and here in India. “British companies like Vernacare show how we lead the way as one of the world’s greatest trading nations and that UK business and innovation is hard to beat.”
There is also strong interest in the Vernacare infection prevention system from other leading Indian hospital groups, including Artemis Hospitals, and Fortis Healthcare, which is trialling the single-use method at its flagship Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
Vernacare is due to open a new service centre in Bangalore, creating high quality engineering jobs to support installation, commissioning and servicing of its technology. It is anticipated that service centres will be set up in every major Indian city, which is expected to create an initial 30 jobs in engineering, sales and marketing.
Vernacare's research and development team has worked with Manipal to adapt its products for the Indian market. This innovation will benefit the company as it scales up in other export markets.
Emma Sheldon, Vernacare's Group Marketing Director and Group Board Director of the UK India Business Council, said: "Our strategic partnership with Manipal Healthcare marks our entry into the vast Indian healthcare sector and we see huge opportunity here. We are learning much and our joint innovation with Manipal is delivering the Best of British healthcare technology with a modern Indian twist. This is Vernacare's first export contract in India and is the highlight of a special trip led by the UK Prime Minister, government ministers and other leading British exporters."
Dr. Nagendra Swamy, Group Medical Director and Chairman of Quality Council of Manipal Health Enterprises, said: "Our group hospitals are renowned for pioneering modern technologies in medicine and treatment. We are proud to partner with Vernacare to introduce the renowned single-use method of human waste management to India. We are already utilising this in five of our hospitals. This is accepted as a best practice method of infection prevention by global accreditation bodies and it will help us in our continued drive to set the highest standards of patient care and clinical excellence."
Dr. Namita Jaggi, Director, Labs and Infection Control, Chief Education and Research at Artemis Hospitals, said: "We trialled the Vernacare system and feedback from staff was very positive. This is a safe and hygienic method of human waste disposal and is quicker and more efficient than disinfecting re-usable bedpans and urinals after each use. This gives nurses more time to focus on patient care. The infection prevention benefits are impressive, which is why the single-use system is favoured by accreditation bodies such as Joint Commission International (JCI). "
The Vernacare system was first trialled at Manipal's flagship hospital in Bangalore, which is NABH accredited and ranked among the top 10 multispecialty hospitals in India. Manipal Hospital manages 4,900 beds in 15 hospitals and serves around 2 million customers per year from India and overseas.
Vernacare’s single-use human waste management system was invented in Manchester and is still designed and manufactured here. It is used by 96% of NHS Trusts and healthcare facilities in 48 countries – helping to reduce the risk of patients contracting MRSA, C.diff, E.coli, Norovirus, Ebola, and other potentially deadly infections.
Vernacare has been assisted by The Department of International Trade, the British India Business Council, and Healthcare UK. In 2015 the Vernacare management team completed a management buyout of the business, backed by leading UK Private Equity firm, Palatine.