UK – Overview of medical device industry and healthcare statistics

Below you will find basic demographic and economic data for the United Kingdom (UK), plus specific information about the country's medical device and healthcare industries.

United Kingdom medical device industry: The UK medical device market is the third largest in Europe, behind Germany and France, and the sixth largest in the world. It was valued at $9.5 billion in 2015.

Domestic device manufacturing is characterized by a large number of small scale medical device companies alongside a few global manufacturers with a significant presence in the market. Many large US companies operate subsidiaries in the UK. In 2015, there were approximately 3000 medical manufacturers in the UK. The strength of UK manufacturers lies especially in orthopedics but also in imaging, diagnostics, and cardiovascular devices.

Opportunities in the UK market: The medical device trade is import-led, as most domestically manufactured products are exported to other markets. With a consistent demand for imported products, the industry--as well as the regulatory system--is receptive to novel and innovative technologies. The language also makes it an easier country to approach for exporters based in English-speaking countries.

Industry challenges in the UK: Entry to the UK could require more time and resources as regulations evolve. Manufacturers should watch for changes in the British economy, as well as the value of the pound. The National Health Service (NHS) is the biggest consumer of medical devices, and can make it difficult for small companies to access the market due to procurement rules, large scale requirements, and pricing policy.

How the UK compares to other markets

  United Kingdom FRANCE GERMANY
Population 64,088,222 66,553,766 80,854,408
Primary language(s) English French German
Total healthcare spending $252 billion $330 billion $437 billion
Healthcare expenditures total (% of GDP) 9.1% 11.5% 11.3%
Healthcare expenditures per capita $3935 (USD) $4959 (USD) $5411 (USD)
Expenditures on healthcare Government: 83%
Private: 17%
Government: 78%
Private: 22%
Government: 77%
Private: 23%
Size of medical device market (USD) $9.5 billion (USD) $14.5 billion (USD) $26 billion (USD – 2014)
Number of hospital beds 2.9 per 1000 people 6.4 per 1000 people 8.2 per 1000 people
Age distribution 0-14 years: 17%
15-64 years: 65%
65 years and over: 18% (2015 est.)
0-14 years: 19%
15-64 years: 72%
65 years and over: 19% (2015 est.)
0-14 years: 13%
15-64 years: 66%
65 years and over: 21% (2015 est.)
Life expectancy at birth Male: 78 years
Female: 83 years
Male: 78 years
Female: 85 years
Male: 78 years
Female: 83 years
Currency Pound sterling (£) Euro (€) Euro (€)

Want to see how France compares to many other countries in Europe and around the world? Download our free PDF Healthcare spending by country.

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