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Briefings address NHS/ pharma divide

Packer Forbes is hosting a series of briefings to learn how collaborations between the NHS and pharma can better meet common agendas

Healthcare communications agency, Packer Forbes, is hosting a series of briefings to learn how collaborations between the NHS and pharma can better meet common agendas.

The latest event focused on the new GP consortia and how industry needs to evolve to support their role of improving local health provision whilst delivering efficiency savings.

Guest speaker Mark Wilkinson, director of NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board (which represents NHS leaders, regulators, policy makers and pharma) told delegates how he is working to identify ways to improve strategic partnerships.

He advised that current unchartered waters mean good communication across all stakeholders is absolutely key. He advocates getting a foot in the door and starting conversations without any hidden agendas, to shape business-to-business relationships based on trust. 

The organisation is spearheading events across the country to encourage NHS leaders to outline their needs and for the pharma industry to submit collaborative ideas to tackle these challenges.

Dr Tim Richardson, executive member of the National Association of Primary Care and principal at a GP practice in Epsom also spoke at the briefing. He explained how under the QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) agenda, quality has to be delivered at the same time as cuts in spending.

Delegates heard how some GPs are currently considering how they can reconcile their role as both commissioners and providers of services. With a typical GP consortium currently spending two-thirds of its budget on secondary care referrals and treatment he said: "GP consortia will already be considering how to commission out-of-hospital services, potentially from any willing provider."

This provides opportunities for new partnerships between pharma and GPs and could lead to joint-working covering areas such as chronic disease management, business case development and benchmarking and auditing the results of interventions.

MD of Packer Forbes, Anna Gibbins said: "Future communication with the NHS is going to be less about products and more about joint-initiatives that can offer value with proven outcomes. Although there are numerous historical examples of pharmaceutical companies working locally with trusts to deliver improvements in healthcare services, there are also examples of failed attempts, which can reinforce reluctance to even enter into a discussion with the pharmaceutical industry.

"What is needed is a fresh new approach, based on solid insights. The key to success in this environment is to ensure a well thought-out strategic communications approach, which engages potential partners and facilitates open discussions."

The next briefing in the series will be held in May.

16th March 2011

From: Healthcare

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