Medical Engineering Technologies

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Medical Engineering Technologies's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Medical Engineering Technologies is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director MarkTurner
Chemical analysis of
drug stability
Medical Engineering Technologies (MET) is a laboratory
service which tests the safety and performance of
medical devices. There are many types of medical
device, such as catheters and tubes, dressings, drug delivery
systems, implants, and diagnostic systems. Across the world,
regulators have standards which these devices must meet. MET
provides independent data to confirm whether or not devices
are compliant. Managing Director Mark Turner offers a more
ample insight into the company’s journey – the ups and the
downs – as well as the company’s manner of operating.
The birth
The company was created in 1997. At the very beginning, I lived off savings and my
wife’s income for two years, and I drove a taxi in the evenings. Financially speaking,
this helped very little, but it did make me feel like I was contributing. To be honest,
I very nearly abandoned the company at the end of that period, but the investment
finally started to pay off. At that time, the company was what is known in the US
as a “manufacturers’ rep”. This, ultimately, is not what I left my comfortable and
steady job to do.
The initial idea was to distribute medical equipment, and, in this respect, we
thought that we had prepared the ground well. When we took the leap, everything
was ready to start this great new venture. Within a month, it was obvious that the
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 1997
»Located in Dover
»Services: Medical equipment
»No. of employees: 23
»MET serves clients on every
continent except Antarctica
Medical Engineering
Highlighting best practice
great new venture was not going to
work. There was simply not enough
money available to create a presence
in the market. Luckily, a new direction
was opened through an advertisement
from an American company looking
for a commission-only salesman. This
and several other companies were
added to the portfolio, allowing a
stable business to be formed. After
ten years of having exchanged one
boss for many bosses, we were
able to start developing our own
The teenage years
At this stage, we came to employ 20
people while successfully delivering
services in Africa, Asia, Europe and
the US. It took a while, because
external funding was not available.
Our eventual ability to get here was
because of our willingness to invest in
the company through retained profits.
The hardest part was at the
beginning, before a stable base was
formed. Turnover and income were
unpredictable, as was the workload.
Adding a third person to a two-person
company is a very big decision. Now we
only add 5 per cent to the workforce by
going from 20 to 21 people. Staffing
has been a crucial aspect of creating a
successful business. The wrong person
can do a lot of harm; the right person
can benefit everyone in the business.
Packaging testing was our first
laboratory service. Many medical
devices, not just implants – indeed,
even surgeons’ gloves – are delivered
sterile. This sterility must be proven
by challenging the products with
transport and through shelf-life
simulation followed by an analysis of
the packaging systems.
New services are added quite regularly
now. These tests are always related
to product safety or performance.
For example, a wound dressing is
subjected to performance tests,
including absorption, vapour transfer,
anti-microbial properties, adhesion
and sterility, among many others.
The safety tests can be carried out
by chemical extraction and detailed
analysis of the materials found.
The university days
We work in a regulated industry and
must comply with quality standards
and management systems ourselves.
Getting started on this was daunting,
as experienced quality management
professionals were way beyond our
Detailed chemical
analysis of drug vials
Insulin pen testing
A table-tennis
table has led
to our best
budget. We tackled this problem in
small steps. Initially, we found a cost-
effective consultancy and worked with
them to get ISO 9001 accreditation.
We then found a new graduate and
trained them in quality management
ourselves. Between us, we developed
a system and got accredited for
ISO 17025. This is the laboratory
management quality standard, and
achieving it is no easy feat. We now
get audits almost every month from the
largest pharmaceutical companies and
are working to their exactingstandards.
Early twenties
We now have multiple revenue streams
in terms of geography, range of tests
and medical or pharmaceutical clients.
The marketplace is set to grow due to
the inexorable increase in regulation.
This has led us to have plans to benefit
from this by increasing our floor space
and head count. It may well be that we
will now seek external investment to
allow us to secure enough market share
to ensure the future of the company.
Investment for retirement
MET is actually a few months older
than Google. We have not achieved
their status, but we have grown steadily
through investment. We always train
our staff and buy whatever equipment
is needed to drive the business
forward. Everyone in the company
feels valued and knows that their
contribution is important. We recently
had a company outing for staff and
their families to a theme park in
France. But investing in a table-tennis
table has led to our best team-building
activity. The tournaments have really
bonded the workforce together.
We currently have a large building
project to increase our floor space with
a mezzanine. Once that is complete,
we will have a music room where
piano and string-instrument lessons
will be available for staff.
Mature, stable and forward-
We are not planning on becoming
middle-aged anytime soon. Our
marketplace is becoming more
competitive and the larger players are
consolidating. In response, we are
investing heavily in our website and
writing technical articles for trade
magazines. However, we have found
that one of the best ways to reach new
customers is in the form of handwritten
letters. Their infrequency provides
them with a certain novelty that makes
people curious to read them. Our
current challenge is most definitely
competing against these larger
competitors, who seem to be at every
conference and advertising in alloutlets.
We have set ourselves some
demanding targets to grow the
business over the next few years.
Operating in such a technically
demanding space is challenging but
also rewarding, and we expect to be
around for much time to come.
We always train
our staff and
buy whatever
equipment is
Analysis of particles in

This article was sponsored by Medical Engineering Technologies. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster