Cheered by the success of the London Olympics opening ceremony, Britain is planning to export its state-funded healthcare brand, hoping to strike lucrative deals in India, China and the Middle East, the government said on Tuesday.
Although many among the estimated one billion global television audience were baffled by it, the National Health Service (NHS) featured in the Olympics opening ceremony - with a particularly long sequence showcasing the Great Ormond Street children's hospital.
Now, the government's trade and industry arm has joined forces with the health ministry to launch a new agency, the Healthcare UK, which will sell the NHS brand abroad.
Exactly what the government has in mind for India is yet to be revealed, but it is holding up the success of the Middle Eastern branches of London's Moorfields eye hospital and Great Ormond Street. Export earnings will be re-invested into the NHS, which has been struggling to cope with finances and mounting demand.
Health minister Anne Milton said selling expert healthcare abroad would benefit both British patients and the double recession-hit economy.
"The NHS has a world-class reputation, and this exciting development will make the most of that to deliver real benefits for both patients and taxpayers."