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Pharmaceutical conference to discuss healthcare in the new NHS

ABPI’s chief executive calls for “bold, provocative ideas” in new UK healthcare landscape

In just a few weeks now, hundreds of delegates from healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry will gather in London for the ABPI's annual conference. It will be my second as chief executive and I'm really looking forward to welcoming friends once again from industry and across the healthcare system to debate new ideas and challenge each other's views and perceptions.

Our discussions will take place just three weeks after the greatest changes the NHS have seen since its inception 70 years ago and I'm hopeful that in this spirit of change and renewal we can rethink the role of the pharmaceutical industry in a changed healthcare landscape. To be frank, if we can't think of bold, provocative ideas in these unique set of circumstances, then we never will.

There are several areas I'm really excited about and I can't wait for us to get our teeth into.

Firstly, how can industry help the NHS deliver healthcare in a more efficient manner than it already does – that not only saves money and resources, but more importantly helps patients lead healthier, happier lives. We've seen the tip of the iceberg with some hugely successful joint working projects, but I think we now need to be bigger and bolder and start to look much more not just at what can be achieved at a local level, but also at a wider national level.

Secondly, I think industry and the NHS is sometimes guilty of seeing healthcare in the UK as a single, homogeneous system. It is not. We have England, Northern Ireland Scotland and Wales. Each has their own approach and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. We need to do much more to learn about what works and what doesn't work across each of the countries and begin to think how we can translate good working practice where it exists across the whole of the UK.

Finally, I want to explore how we can work with new NHS structures. Initially, my industry colleagues need to first learn how the new structures will work and get a feel for the new system – our conference will help them do this. But looking beyond that, I want to speak with commissioners and begin to understand their own vision for the NHS, what they are looking for from the life sciences industry and what they feel is the most appropriate way for pharmaceutical companies to engage with them.

I hope to welcome you personally very soon, and please, get your thinking caps on over the next few weeks!

Find out more about the ABPI Conference

Article by
Stephen Whitehead

is chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

5th April 2013

From: Sales, Healthcare

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