NHS Confederation and ABPI have launched a new report, Working with the NHS, in a drive to promote NHS-industry collaboration.
The NHS Confederation and Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) report is designed to help the NHS and life sciences industry work more closely together.
The report recognises that the potential benefits of collaboration are significant – including better patient outcomes, a more sustainable NHS, and a boost to the economy.
It also recognises the barriers which need to be addressed – such as leadership and culture, capacity and resource, and variable levels of trust between industry and the NHS.
The publication is the first stage of a new drive to overcome such barriers, which will see a series of meetings between NHS and industry regional leads over the next few months.
A key aim is for people in the NHS and industry to feel they have permission and encouragement to work with each other from the highest levels of the NHS. Further practical tools to help, for example on governance, are being developed.
The guide contains case studies which demonstrate what can be achieved from successful joint projects. These include the Greater Manchester Pharmaceutical Industry Partnership which led to an increase in commercial studies, an increase in clinical trial participation and a new approach in treating chronic pulmonary disease patients.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation said: “The future lies in collaboration – without it, neither the NHS nor industry will fulfil their potential. As this report shows, there are many examples of good practice that demonstrate that each can benefit from using the skills and experience of the other, and more importantly, patients benefit.
“But the message here is that we can do more and do it at scale. Collaboration with industry and research is mission critical, and there remains a danger that it is seen as a ‘nice to have’, rather than a ‘must do’.”
Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said: “We’ve been very honest in this report about the barriers industry and the NHS have come up against when trying to work together.
“We are investing resource to address these challenges because the benefits of partnership are so compelling – a ‘triple win’ of improved patient outcomes, more efficient use of NHS resources and evidence of impact for industry.
“I am a passionate advocate of NHS-industry collaboration. Our 2017 industry agreement with Greater Manchester led to more than a dozen new cross-sector partnerships and rapid work to address major health challenges like COPD. We want to deliver the same benefits across the country to help improve population health.”