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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round of NHS and healthcare stories

Too many GPs off target lists, says medeConnect

Up to 75 per cent of GPs are regularly ignored by almost every pharmaceutical rep’s target list, according to doctors information service medeConnect. The company says that the many GPs who have never had any interaction with a pharmaceutical company require a different message to those on the existing rep target list and suggests 'a sequential' approach, combining education with information on drug efficacy, product comparisons, patient feedback and KOL presentations. "By adopting what we are describing as 'sequential' marketing techniques, firms can deliver tailored messages via a range of channels, and will be able to increase the value of a far larger GP audience, increase their sphere of influence and maximise the investment in the direct sales force," said medeConnect managing director, Erik Jan Scholten.

Workplace GP plan discussed

Patients will be allowed to register with two GPs, one near home and one close to work, under new reforms being discussed by ministers. The idea has emerged from recent consultation meetings attended by hundreds of people around the country. The proposal involves having a principal practice, which would have responsibility for complex care, home visits and hospital referrals, and a secondary surgery available for basic care. GPs have cautiously welcomed the move. Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA’s GPs committee, said: "We are open to anything which makes the NHS more usable for patients, but we would not want to see any fragmentation of services. There are issues with how GPs would be paid and communication between surgeries, but these are not insurmountable."

NICE fast-track procedure for 'life-saving' drugs

UK regulatory watchdog the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is carrying out a three-month consultation on plans to introduce a fast-track drug appraisal system. It currently takes an average of 18 months for an appraisal but under the proposals, key life-saving medicines, including cancer drugs, could be assessed within eight weeks. Five drugs, including Roche’s breast cancer treatment Herceptin, have already been tabled for assessment under the new system. "The proposals we have set out mean NICE can deal with the current backlog much quicker than planned and that we will be able to issue guidance to the NHS rapidly in the future, once a drug is licensed," said NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon.

30th September 2008

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