Belfast Telegraph

Enterprising health deal could create 400 new jobs

By Clare Weir

A pioneering link-up between the Executive's enterprise and health departments could lead to 400 new jobs in the 'connected health' sector, it was claimed.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Health Minister Edwin Poots made a statement to the Assembly this week on its importance.

They signed a 'memorandum of understanding' between the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and Invest NI in which the agency agreed to support clinical research and development.

The concept of connected health means technologies which allow patients to manage their conditions at home, such as self-diagnostic kits.

The ministers say that such developments could help cut hospital admissions by allowing patients and carers to monitor their condition at home.

With Northern Ireland companies such as pharmaceutical firms Randox and Almac already world leaders in their fields, the potential for expansion is great, according to Mrs Foster.

She added: "This is the first link-up between departments of its kind and had been something I had been considering for some time. When Edwin came on board as health minister we were able to drive it forward.

"Initially we are looking at the creation of 400 jobs in the short term but that does not include jobs in the supply chain, software development, research and development and other support services."