A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Vitalograph'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 Vitalograph 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

Bernard Garbe,
Vitalograph facility in
Vitalograph is a family-owned company, founded by
Margaret and Dietmar Garbe in 1963, and is currently
headed by their son Bernard Garbe, who has been its
managing director since 1980. Today, Vitalograph are the
longest-established manufacturer of respiratory diagnostic
medical devices in the world, serving global markets from their
headquarters in the UK with operations in Ireland, Germany,
Japan, the United States and Hong Kong. Bernard Garbe
discusses the way in which the company operates in its current
incarnation, with reference to export markets, the impact of
new technologies and developments in respiratory medicine,
and the impact of the Brexit referendum on future business.
Vitalograph is an innovative family company with a 55-year heritage in the
development, manufacture and distribution of medical devices, software and
associated services. Vitalograph was established in 1963 by my parents, Margaret and
Dietmar Garbe, as a subsidiary of their 1951 medical distribution company Garthur
(London) Ltd. Vitalograph was formed to specialise in the design and manufacture of
pioneering respiratory diagnostic medical devices. The technology, scope and scale of
our medical products and services have expanded considerably over the decades,
but we remain highly specialised in the field of respiratorydiagnostics.
My company strives for, and achieves, world-beating excellence in lung diagnostics
and has won many design awards. We export over 80 per cent of our products,
»Managing director: The
founder’s son, Bernard Garbe,
has held the role since 1980
»Established in 1963
»Based in Buckingham
»Services: Manufacture and
development of medical
devices and clinical services
»No. of employees: 100 in the
UK, and 250 worldwide
»Export sales over 80 per cent,
to over 80 countries
Highlighting best practice
and have done so since the 1970s. The
technology that we employ to deliver
our products and services is rapidly
evolving, as are our markets and
regulatory framework.
Our current products make increasing
use of our expertise in providing
regulated web-based platforms
for medical data within a secure,
encrypted environment. As a result
of this expertise, our products and
services are in increasing demand
from customers worldwide who need
objective medical measurement data,
with instant and simultaneous access
to this data from multiple sites across
many countries.
Our customers include biotechnology
companies, major pharmaceutical
companies and clinical research
organisations that are developing new
medicines to treat a range of different
respiratory diseases.
A solution unique to Vitalograph is
VitaloJAK, a cutting-edge system for
the objective, ambulatory monitoring
of coughs. VitaloJAK is a web-
based technology which has many
applications in respiratory medicine.
VitaloJAK is currently being used
in human clinical trials to prove the
safety and effectiveness of new
antitussive medications. Vitalograph
are first in the world to market an
objective cough monitoring system
and at present no other has passed the
New cough medicines are urgently
needed as regulators around the
world are insisting that the safety
and therapeutic claims made for
all medicines must be proven. No
over-the-counter cough medicine
today has proper evidence of
safety or effectiveness and many
of them are being taken off the
market or changing their claims.
The VitaloJAK is in high demand
for clinical trials being undertaken
by pharmaceutical giants to fill
the gap in the market for safe and
effective cough medicines.
A chronic cough is more than just
an annoyance, it is unpleasant and
distressing, and chronic coughing can
seriously impact a patient’s quality
of life. Coughing is one of the most
common symptoms that lead patients
to seek medical attention and chronic
cough affects approximately 10 per
cent of the world population. In the
UK alone close to £100 million is spent
annually on over-the-counter cough
In developing effective new cough
medicines an objective 24-hour
Vitalograph ambulatory
cough monitor
Expertise in
platforms for
medical data
within a secure,
recording of cough is essential. In the
past the only way of doing this was
video recording in a clinical setting.
Accurately classifying and counting
coughs in a 24-hour video recording
typically takes at least 48 hours –
longer than a working week. The
innovative VitaloJAK won a North
West NHS Innovation Award because
the high-fidelity recording, signal
processing and expert algorithms
developed in Manchester University
Hospitals bring accurate assessment
down to an average of six hours,
resulting in a massive cost saving. The
patients under study could also lead a
normal life and quality-reviewed data is
available the next day.
As a family company, we pride
ourselves on supporting the
professional development and job
satisfaction of our employees. As a
smaller company in our industry we
have a much-valued opportunity
to provide a broad and thorough
grounding in our specialist fields. This,
together with our ongoing investment
in research and development, makes
Vitalograph a very stimulating and
rewarding place to work. Our success
in developing a highly skilled and
motivated team is reflected in the
attractiveness of our personnel to head
hunters and our many long-serving
»33 per cent of our employees have
been with us for over 10 years
»21 per cent over 15 years and
»15 per cent over 20 years’ service
I am often asked about my views on
the impact of Brexit on Vitalograph.
Vitalograph sales were mostly export,
including many EFTA countries, before
1973 when we joined the EEC and
continued to be mostly export post
Maastricht in 1991. Whether hard,
soft or any other type of Brexit, I am
confident that we will soon be back
to settled trade with our European
The priority of the Garbe family, who
own Vitalograph, is to run an ethical
company and look to its long-term
future and that of the next generation
already working in the company. We
remain committed to our founding
principles of excellence and innovation
in our products and integrity in
our dealings with our customers
Excellence and
innovation in
our products
and integrity
in our dealings
with our
customers and
Ongoing investment in

This article was sponsored by Vitalograph. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy