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NHS training course launched

A training course aimed at giving organisations “an in-depth understanding of the drastic new changes in the NHS marketplace” has been launched by communications agency Fleishman-Hillard

A training course aimed at giving organisations ìan in-depth understanding of the drastic new changes in the NHS marketplaceî has been launched by communications agency Fleishman-Hillard (FH).

The `drastic changes' in question include an expected cut in the number of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities, which some observers are predicting to be reduced by up to 50 per cent. Any such move would lead to many redundancies and a noticeable merging of services, according to FH.

Another key issue is that the reintroduction of practice-based commissioning is expected, which many feel is little more than a return to GP fund holding. In other words, PCTs would no longer be the sole commissioners of services - an increasing proportion of commissioning would be carried out at a local level.

FH's team of NHS and health policy specialists believes it has pre-empted the changes by developing a new offering to companies that do business with the NHS, aiming to give them an insight into the changes currently being planned and the significance of those changes for organisations, thereby filling a gap that critics say the NHS might well have filled itself.

ìWe are expecting to see a vastly reduced number of primary care organisations and strategic health authorities leading to significant changes to the commissioning of frontline services,î Adam Harridance, a senior consultant within the FH healthcare public affairs practice, told Pharmaceutical Marketing.

ì[However,] the majority of people employed within the NHS do not understand how the NHS works, so how can external companies expect to have their finger on the pulse? Our training course will not only give them the pulse rate, but the blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI of the NHS, all in one day,î he added.

He is also quick to point out that only 27 per cent of NHS staff felt that the organisation's departments communicated effectively with each other -  let alone the outside world, according to the 2004 NHS Staff Survey.

In an earlier statement, he claimed that we could expect reintroduction of practice-based commissioning and payment by results, meaning that GPs will become accountable for their own spending and prescription writing, positioning them yet further towards the centre of pharmaceutical marketers' focus.

2nd September 2008

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