The Türkiye-UK Health Business Forum has been held at USHAŞ in Istanbul under the auspices of the Ministry of Health.


Represented at the event were leading Turkish hospitals and health institutions, as well as companies operating in the pharmaceutical, medical device and equipment, and health IT sectors. Among the companies present were GSK Turkey, GSK Consumer Healthcare, AstraZeneca Turkey and Vitabiotics, as well as such UK insurance companies as BMI Healthcare Services, Balsamee and Bupa. The UK-Turkey Health Business Forum was a significant event for the promotion of health business opportunities between the two countries, and served to bring the leading health tourism agencies, insurance companies, hospital officials and medical specialists of the United Kingdom together in Istanbul.

Deputy Minister of Health Assoc. Prof.  Dr.  Tolga Tolunay was the first speaker at the forum, which was attended by Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Şuayip Birinci, Turkish Medicines and Medical Devices Agency (TİTCK) President Assoc. Prof.  Dr.  Tolga Karakan, General Director of Foreign Relations and Relations with the EU of the Ministry of Health Dr. Selami Kılıç, General Director of IT of the Ministry of Health Dr.  Mustafa Mahir Ülgü, Turkish Health Institutes (TÜSEB) President Prof. Dr.  Erhan Akdoğan and General Director of International Health Services (USHAŞ) Mehmet Ali Kılıçkaya, as well as high level public and private sector representatives.

The participants from the United Kingdom were British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott, Her Majesty’s Consul General Istanbul and Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Kenan Poleo, Deputy Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Jane Grady, Trade Attaché at the British Embassy in Turkey David Machin and NHS Vice President of Health Services David Sheppard, along with representatives from the UK government and high levels of the health sector.

 “Our goal is to pave the way for new collaborations”

Deputy Health Minister Assoc. Prof.  Dr.  Tolga Tolunay – the keynote speaker at the forum – said, “Our goal in organizing the Turkey-UK Health Business Forum is to take the existing healthcare market share potential of the two allied countries further and pave the way for new collaborations within a mutual framework built on the win-win principle.”

Tolunay stated that USHAŞ continues to play a vital role both in meeting domestic needs and providing support, as well as facilitating the provision of support, to other countries.

“We can overcome difficulties together”

British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott underlined the great interest paid to the forum by the British health community, stating that more than 120 representatives from the British health sector and from academic circles, as well as over 50 representatives from British companies, were in attendance.

Revealing that there are plans to organize other health forums in the future, Ambassador Chilcott said, “I am particularly curious about the marvelously rapid growth of the healthcare business sector of Turkey. Turkey’s large-scale hospital production has proved to us that Turkey is capable of record-breaking speeds in the establishment of complex health institutions. In the digital domain, Turkey has proven itself with its e-Nabız system, which enables the smooth transfer of patient expectations and data between systems. TURKOVAC is another achievement of note, and in this respect Turkey also plays a key role in the provision of a COVID-19 vaccine to many countries. We would like to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Health for the support given to the United Kingdom during the pandemic, especially in terms of protective equipment.”

“We are the most digitalized country in Europe”

Deputy Health Minister Dr.  Şuayip Birinci made a presentation entitled “Turkey’s Digital Healthcare Infrastructure” during the panel on “Digital Healthcare”, held as part of the forum.

Birinci described the efforts of the Ministry of Health in the digital domain, and talked about how both hospital and ministry directors can keep track of hospital waiting times thanks to the applied projects which allow them to see which units are in need of additional staffing.

Stating that they can track death rates within a year according to “disease scores”, Birinci said “We are the most digitalized country in Europe.”

“We Can Solve Problems Quickly and Efficiently”

Coordinator of the Investment Office of the Presidency Derun Ülgen informed investors from the United Kingdom about the Turkish medical devices market, the medical consumables market, investment incentives, the availability of health sector personnel, intellectual property rights, clinical trials, free zones and investment offices.

Pointing out that the Investment Office answers directly to the President, Ülgen said, “Our investment agency serves as a one-stop shop for investors interested in Turkey. From our first initial contact, we stay in contact with potential investors, and support them during and even after the realization of their investments. Acting with utmost confidentiality, our offices are capable of resolving investor problems quickly and efficiently.”

“Turkey is one of the leading countries in health tourism”

USHAŞ General Director Mehmet Ali Kılıçkaya spoke at the “Collaboration Opportunities with the United Kingdom for the Turkish Healthcare Sector”.

In his presentation, Kılıçkaya evaluated the level of commercial relations between the UK and Turkey, and advised the participants of Turkey’s overall health system and the level reached in health tourism.

Providing an overview of the activities of USHAŞ and its vision for the future, Kılıçkaya said:

“As two great countries to the east and west of continental Europe, the political, economic and commercial relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom have a profound historical background. The United Kingdom has been one of Turkey’s key commercial partners for many years. Following Brexit, the two countries have grown closer and have seen a reinforcement of their friendly relations. The FTA signed in this period has been a critical step taken toward strengthening our commercial relations, as the first bilateral Free Trade Agreement signed by the United Kingdom after Brexit.”

Kılıçkaya said that Turkey is one of the leading countries in health tourism, having achieved great success in the reforms that began with the Health Transformation Program, and provided details of the

factors behind this success and the activities of USHAŞ.

In the meetings held in closed session, representatives of the UK government and high-level sectoral representatives thanked USHAŞ General Director Mehmet Ali Kılıçkaya for the organization.  The Forum ended on the second day with B2B meetings.

T.C. Sağlık Bakanlığı Bakan Yardımcısı Doç. Dr. Tolga Tolunay:

Birleşik Krallık Ankara Büyükelçisi Dominick Chilcott:

USHAŞ Genel Müdürü ve Yönetim Kurulu Başkan Vekili Mehmet Ali Kılıçkaya:

Birleşik Krallık İstanbul Başkonsolosu ve Doğu Avrupa ve Orta Asya Ticaret Temsilcisi Kenan Poleo: