The importance of biomedical engineering

Picking up on yesterday’s post about an event on the topic in November comes a fascinating report produced by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. It gives an overview of biomedical engineering in the UK and includes case studies from UK universities and industry. It looks at the role of technology and biomedical engineers in the NHS, and makes a number of key recommendations, which would help improve healthcare in the UK and stimulate grow in the sector.

Key recommendations

  1. Every NHS acute trust should have a designated Chief Biomedical Engineer.
  2. A single, dedicated funding programme for biomedical engineering research should be established in UK Research Councils.
  3. Industrial and taxation policy should promote long-term investment in biomedical engineering to encourage domestic development and manufacturing.
  4. International consensus should be pursued for global standards, a common device regulatory and approvals regime, and harmonisation of patent legislation in medical devices. Named UK leads should be agreed for these policy roles.

The report also highlights how the current fragmented approach to biomedical engineering by academia, health services and industry is holding back advances in medical technology.  To help address these issues, the authors also call for biomedical engineering to be recognised as a distinct discipline and for biomedical engineers be provided with a clearer career pathway.

If any were needed, it certainly provides plenty of support for a changed view of mechanical engineering in the modern world.

Many thanks to Prof Mike Short for directing me to it – I understand Mike also kindly contributed to the report.

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