The announcement comes as a survey shows that more than half of Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) now work in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, rating medicines management projects as the most helpful area of working. Other top-rated areas are in team building and communication skills, implementing NICE guidelines and national service frameworks, and the training of nurses.
“This survey shows how timely the issue of the framework guidelines 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.
“In the spirit of this developing relationship, the ABPI has produced this document to introduce NHS managers and decision-makers to the benefits of partnership with the pharmaceutical industry.”
And Mr 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.”
The ABPI Framework for Joint Working between the Pharmaceutical Industry and the NHS is a practical guide to joint working projects, ranging from the nutritional screening of older patients to optimising management in palliative care of cancer pain.
It outlines the principles for co-operation and lists important lessons learnt so far, as well as highlighting pointers for successful joint working relationships. A suggested framework checklist is also provided to help plan, organise and implement such initiatives.
The framework also includes a selection of case studies of successful partnership working between pharmaceutical companies and the NHS in a wide variety of different areas, ranging from educational support to the implementation of NSFs.
The guide stresses that all such joint activities should be for the benefit of both individual patients and for wider populations and that any agreements between the industry and NHS partners are conducted in an open and transparent manner. Other key provisions are:
The interests of individual patients must be protected.
Clinical aspects of care should be under NHS control, although industry input is legitimate and offers benefits to patients and NHS organisations.
Joint working should not be seen as an endorsement or promotion of a specific medicine or technology.
Clinicians have a duty to provide whatever treatment they consider clinically appropriate.
Pharmaceutical companies must comply with the ABPI Code of Practice at all times and NHS staff must comply with NHS – and relevant professional organisation – codes of conduct.
The survey of PCOs undertaken by Medical Management Services and supported by the ABPI showed that joint projects now cover a wide range of subjects including: medication reviews, education updates for staff, sponsorship of meetings, development of specialist primary care clinics, and specialist nurses.
“The results provide valuable evidence of how many primary care organisations now view such partnership-working as a valuable tool. 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,” said Dr Jones.
The minority of PCOs that have not been involved in such projects cited the main reasons as lack of opportunity and management time as well as some 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.
“Clearly resources and time are always a major issue for the NHS, but there are many ways in which joint working could actually share the workload and improve results.”
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410