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Groundbreaking pharma-NHS collaboration launched in Nottingham

Published on 30/05/08 at 03:05pm

A group of pharmaceutical companies have joined forces with Nottingham healthcare services to help improve care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and reduce unplanned hospital admissions.

INFORCE (Industry and Nottingham NHS Focus on Reducing COPD Exacerbations) is a collaboration between Nottingham City PCT, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and five pharma companies with an interest in COPD.

The companies taking part in the programme are AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Nycomed.

In Nottingham's most deprived areas death rates from the lung disease, which is usually caused by smoking, are over six times higher than in affluent areas.

Hospital admissions in these areas are also five times higher, and around 140 people die of COPD-related illness in Nottingham ever year. There are up to 1,000 hospital admissions each year, many of which are multiple admissions of the same patients.

The project will run for two years until December 2009 and will have four phases. Patients with COPD will be invited to take part and their treatment will be analysed by looking at medical records and through direct discussions with patients.

The data gathered will then be reviewed to identify common factors that may lead to hospitalisation, with a view to improving care and preventing patients deteriorating.

Shirley Smith, assistant director of commissioning at Nottingham City PCT, said: "We believe this project can really make a difference to people with COPD. By reviewing what currently happens to patients with the condition, we can make relevant changes to further develop and improve the treatments and service we provide.

"This will help us make sure patients get the best available care, and where possible help them avoid hospitalisation altogether."

Groundbreaking collaboration

INFORCE has been set up as part of the ABPI Outreach Programme to encourage the NHS and pharma to work together to improve patient care and achieve NHS targets.

The programme is part of the government's wider 'Working Together' initiative to develop better joint working between the industry and the NHS, particularly in areas where pharma had previously been shut out.

Jan Balmer, regional facilitator for the ABPI, said: "We are delighted to once again be working in partnership with Nottingham City PCT on such an important project. We all have a shared interest in improving people's health and reducing their need for hospital treatment."

She concluded: "The pharmaceutical industry is committed to working with the NHS throughout the UK to identify and develop similar opportunities where we can benefit patients by sharing our skills, experience and resources with the NHS."

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