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Framework to promote pharma-NHS partnerships launched

Published on 15/07/04 at 04:48pm

A framework to facilitate greater collaboration between the pharma industry and the NHS has been launched by the ABPI in association with the NHS Alliance.

The framework document has been sent out to all chief executives of PCOs and Strategic Health Authorities in England and Wales as well as the industry, and will attempt to spread existing best practice across the country and overcome suspicion of industry motives and practices held by some in the health service.

A survey was carried out on behalf of the NHS Alliance in order to gauge current feeling about working with the industry among PCOs, finding that medicines management projects were seen as the most helpful projects, with industry help on team-building and communication skills, implementing NICE guidelines and national service frameworks and nurse training also seen as beneficial by many.

"This survey shows how timely the issue of the framework guidance is," said Dr Trevor Jones, director general of the ABPI. "The NHS Plan and other recent publications from the Department of Health all point to the benefits that can come from a constructive engagement with the private sector."

The document also details informal feedback from the NHS on a number of points which have hindered greater collaboration. These include the fact that the NHS is increasingly focused on service reconfiguration "rather than simple acquisition costs of medicines" and that the industry remains "too product-focused" and that "if companies are now looking to deliver better health outcomes, then this needs a big shift in attitude".

To overcome lack of clarity and detail in existing guidelines, the new Framework for Joint Working sets out a checklist which the organisations hope will serve as a template for locally generated agreements.

Five areas are covered - Financial and Resource Implications, Governance Arrangements, Monitoring and Evaluation, Data and Patient Protection and Declaration of Interests - and are brought together in a simple summary of the project, including intended aims/objectives and set start and finish dates as well as an 'exit strategy'.

Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance said: "Patients benefit by close and effective working between the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS. This document sets out a framework for such partnerships and gives excellent examples of how this works in practice."

Returning to the results of the survey, Dr Jones hailed its findings that over half of all PCOs have approached the industry to set up joint projects, saying: "There can be no clearer sign of success than the fact that nearly half of all PCOs have actually taken the initiative in approaching the industry to set up such joint projects."

For the minority of PCOs who have not been involved in a joint project, the main reasons cited were lack of opportunity and management time as well as a degree of scepticism of its success.

"We hope that the new framework will go a long way to reassuring those PCOs that such partnerships can be very valuable," said Dr Jones.

The framework document includes nine case studies of successful joint working projects, ranging from a personal development programme for mental health commissioners in London, supported by a special advisor from Lilly, to a partnership between Lanarkshire PCT and Janssen-Cilag on optimising management in palliative care for cancer patients. 

Related articles:

Pfizer and Haringey PCT to collaborate on chronic disease initiative 

Friday , March 19, 2004

 

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