Decoding the NHS

Most people have seen the film ‘The Matrix’. The film explores the concept of reality. Our perception of the world is real. Or at least it appears real. But the reality is that our perceptions are false, manipulated and created by other forces at large. One of the most memorable sequences is near the conclusion of the film, where actor Keanu Reeves decodes The Matrix and, all of a sudden, is able to fend off numerous arch-enemies with one hand without even batting an eye-lid. But what has all this got to do with medical representatives going about their everyday business? When you come down to it, maybe the film isn’t so different from your life as a medical representative after all. The NHS is a Matrix. It’s a hospital corridor, a GP’s surgery. It consists of people and boards. It has customers you don’t know and targets you need to know. There are Formularies and Applications. There are Guidelines and Budgets. And there is a Code. The NHS Code. This NHS Matrix also needs decoding. The representatives are bouncing off the walls, trying to get access, attempting to get drugs onto formularies, trying to see who is on committees.

Trying to decode the Matrix. Striding purposefully through the chaos are the few true believers, who believe in themselves and believe in their products, who take the time to decode the Matrix and successfully move through primary care, hospital, field training, product management and marketing. How do they do this when the Matrix is a world of the unknown, especially to those new to the industry? Don’t worry, help is at hand…. To help you decode the Matrix, we will be running a new series of articles covering issues in both primary care (GP) and secondary care (Hospital) settings and dealing with the new and challenging ‘Interface’ between the different environments. These articles are not intended to replace the information from your ITC or Training Course. Nor will they replace the facilities of specialist companies who research training methods and the customer environment. However, what they will do is to add depth and meaning to your journey as a representative. Just as your A–Z map is both an essential and accurate representation of your journey from customer to customer, you can also appreciate that it tells you nothing at all about the process of driving, the feelings and emotions experienced while in the traffic, and the stress and events of your journey. In the same way, these articles will add depth and flavour to your journey as a representative. They will supplement your training and allow you to develop a threedimensional model of the sales process you are formulating. It may even prevent you from having a serious accident. Always remember – the Map is most definitely not the Territory.

So who is going to help you decode the NHS? – Omar Ali Omar Ali is the Formulary Development Pharmacist for Surrey & Sussex Healthcare Trust, PCG Formulary Advisor to Primary Care, Executive Board Member of the National Obesity Forum, the Pharmacist Representative of the Diabetes Local Services Action Group and if that isn’t enough Omar is a National UK Speaker.

Omar, why do you think we need this type of article? The pressures facing representatives today are multifaceted. Some revolve around the product and competitor information, but more and more importantly, much is dependant upon the changing face of the customer. In many instances, the customer is ‘unknown’ – it is a person, a board, or a committee. Often, this unknown and variable component is proving to be the most difficult to address.

Who will they be aimed at?These articles will be aimed at those representatives who work in both hospitals and primary care. It will also be valuable to those who are involved in training. representatives attempting to place drugs on formulary, to those who are working with NHS partnerships and to those who are trying to pin down the real structure & function of the new NHS mechanisms. How do the readers translate this information into actions Each month we will provide the following:-
i) Coverage of the current topic. ii)A case study iii) The Do’s & dont’s

What topics will be covered? The new Prescribing Interface – what does it mean to you? Hospital Prescribing Powers & Influences Formularies – for & against, the 2-edged sword Hospital & Primary care – pull through & opening restrictive formularies. The rubber band club Do’s & Don’ts of a successful representative Primary Care – Incentivised Prescribing D&T Shockers! Formulary Negotiations The D&T Meeting – Fly-on-the-Wall Retail Chemists – left on the shelf?