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Medical business targets Middle East as it looks to replicate NHS

A healthcare manufacturing and distribution company is eyeing the Middle East to help it expand further.

Selby-based GBUK says that the UK healthcare market is very mature and that the Middle East offers great opportunity as the governments in that region look to replicate the UK’s NHS.

Mark Thompson, CEO at GBUK, told The Yorkshire Post: “There’s a lot of London-based hospitals that are helping set up hospitals in the Middle East and whilst we in the UK may think that the NHS is not great, because we hear all the horror stories, around the world they really look up to the NHS.”

GBUK unveiled a new warehouse yesterday, which is intended to help aid its expansion plans, as well as to store contingency stock for the domestic market.

Mr Thompson said a lot of business who suffer a disaster, such as fire, go out of business if they don’t have contingency stock, as they can’t satisfy customer needs.

Being an NHS supplier the firm needs to “morally” take up the slack should a disaster occur at one of its warehouses said Mr Thompson and that was the reason for the new building.

He said: “Because we’re supplying goods to the NHS and we’re a business, we looked at contingency as being very important.”

Earlier this year, GBUK were at the Arab Health exhibition and in 2014 was at the medical trade show MEDICA in Germany.

“When we look at expansion there’s only so much you can expand in a mature market and the UK is a mature market,” Mr Thompson said.

At MEDICA, the firm saw interest in its products, but the Middle East market is the one most likely to offer new opportunities.

Mr Thompson said: “We are interested in Europe but again Europe is a fairly mature market.

“In the Middle East and Africa there is more and more money being spent by the governments in regards to the health of the nation and there’s new hospitals being built, new technologies.”

Although Mr Thompson believes the NHS could do more in certain aspects of cure and prevention, he said: “I think the NHS is up there with the best.”

The company’s new custom-built sustainable warehouse was opened by Selby MP Nigel Adams.

Prime Minister David Cameron made a vow to cut red tape when he came to power, but Mr Thompson said that red tape is still a hindrance to businesses.

He said: “I think the biggest challenge for anybody at the moment is red tape. The amount of red tape there is around businesses has grown dramatically and Mr Cameron, when he came to office, said he was going to cut red tape. I’ll be honest I’ve not seen any evidence of that.”

The North Yorkshire-based business currently employs 55 people and is anticipating turnover of £18m at the end of its financial year in June.

GBUK, which provides suction devices such as catheters and external devices that allowing feeding through a tube, hopes that expansion will see turnover reach £23m by the end of 2016.

Mr Thompson said the new warehouse will now give them 1 million cubic feet of space across the site in North Duffield, Selby.


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