The second of the ABPI's regional events has been held in the Midlands and East region. Chaired by Richard Price, Regional Manager for the West Midlands and Wales, Pfizer, and Chair of the ABPI Regional Industry Group (RIG) Midlands and East, described the changes to the NHS following the publication of the Innovation, Health and Wealth report as "encouraging" as Industry, academia and patients all now have a part to play in shaping the NHS.
The Midlands and East RIG has been established as the focus for partnership working in Midlands and East and is building trust in, and understanding of, Joint Working. The Group has defined some of the areas it wishes to focus on, including an NOACs uptake pilot and, key to an ex-mining region with a high incidence of respiratory problems, a regional asthma strategy. 
Andrew Riley, ABPI Regional Partnership Manager Midlands & East explained that RIGs are aligned to NHS clustering in England, drawing expertise from the entire country. This helps the Industry present a unified front to the NHS and supports NHS efforts to be more innovative in its approach to healthcare and medicines optimisation. 
The ABPI's vision is to ensure the Industry becomes an integral part of the NHS's solution to the delivery of better patient outcomes. "We're not about market access; we're about improving the marketplace."
Dr Sanjeev Rana, West Essex Commissioner and Medicines Lead of West Essex CCG discussed Joint Working from the perspective of a CCG, describing the strengths and weaknesses of both parties in a Joint Working relationship. 
There will be arguments, he explained, because all good relationships are based on arguments and complaints. What's important is that when things fail "we find out why they failed, and then keep going." He urged delegates not to lose sight of the bigger picture when negotiating the details and to fit the drugs around the pathway to retain credibility. Dr Rana suggested that "now" was the best time to investigate developing Joint Working projects as CCGs are formulating their future strategies. "What better time for Industry to engage with us?" 
Dr Carl Edwards, Interim Industry Lead of the newly formed East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), gave an honest and engaging look at the set-up of the Network. AHSNs have six key functions:
  • Midlands & EastPromoting participation in research 
  • Translating research and learning into practice
  • Collaborating on education and training
  • Driving service improvement
  • Ensuring information is at the core of AHSN work
  • Wealth creation
Addressing why the Network would choose to work with the Industry, Carl stated "we want to improve patient outcomes. Without Industry we don't have healthy patients." Additionally, there are areas where Industry has the advantage over the NHS. The NHS often struggles to adopt therapies early enough and lags behind Industry in data usage, using only 2% of the data it collects. 
The East Midlands AHSN currently consists of three people and by July, when contracts are signed, will have a budget of £2.7 million to be spent by the end of next March. "We can't do it on our own," said Carl, "we need you, and we can provide you with stuff you need."
Doubling the number of patients taking part in clinical trials over the next five years is one of the priorities of the Trent Comprehensive Local Research Network, as outlined by its Clinical Director, Professor Oleg Eremin. Primary care is an important area for clinical research and the goals of the NHS means it is uniquely placed to participate in trials collecting real world data. These trials are mutually advantageous to the NHS and pharmaceutical Industry, helping both parties to understand HCP decision-making.
Hassan Chaudhury , Director of Health Intelligence at Health iQ, described his unique perspective on the relationships between Industry and the NHS in Joint Working, and the need to develop "win-win-win" situations, where patients, NHS and industry all benefit.
An afternoon workshop led by Kevin Blakemore, ABPI National Partnership Manager, brought delegates together to experience life as a task and finish group developing a service redesign in the fictional Malady CCG. Groups explored how the skills and capability of the pharmaceutical Industry can best be utilised to support innovation in the NHS. The workshops helped participants understand the need for the Joint Working processes and highlighted the importance of ensuring all relevant stakeholders get the chance to be involved. 

Speaker biographies

Dr Sanjeev Rana MRCGP MBBS DFFP PCeMed DipDermatology (Cardiff)
West Essex Commissioner and Medicines Lead - West Essex CCG 
Sanjeev Rana qualified from Imperial College (London) in 1995. He finished his training as a General Practitioner at Oxford in 1999. He works as a full time General practitioner in West Essex with an interest in dermatology and respiratory medicine. He started working within the’ West Essex Medicines Management’ team in 2004 and has been the ‘Medicines Management Lead’ for West Essex CCG since 2011. West Essex CCG was authorised as viable organisation in April 2013.
Dr Carl Edwards
Interim Industry Lead - East Midlands AHSN
Carl is currently the Interim Industry Lead for the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network, developing plans and beginning engagement with industry. Working closely with Medilink East Midlands, ABPI, BIVDA and other industry groups Carl is building industry relationships between academia and the NHS. Carl was previously Director of NHS Innovations East Midlands and has a background in clinical research and commercialisation of novel therapeutics.
Professor Oleg Eremin MB, ChB, MD, FRACS, RCSEd, FRCST (Hon), F Med Sci, DSc (Hon)
Clinical Director - Trent Comprehensive Local Research Network, Nottingham University

Professor Eremin graduated MB ChB from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He then moved to the UK for further surgical training and experience. He carried out research at the University of Cambridge where he studied tumour immunology.  In 1981 he was appointed Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant Surgeon, where he remained until 1985.  During this time he became involved with the Scottish Breast Trials Organisation and was subsequently appointed Regius Professor of Surgery at the University of Aberdeen and Honorary Consultant Surgeon. He remained in these posts until 1998 during which time, with a grant from the Scottish Office, he helped to establish the Scottish Cancer Therapy Network.
In 1999 Professor Eremin moved to Lincoln as Consultant Breast Surgeon and Lead Clinician for Breast Services in Lincolnshire, Special Professor of Surgery at Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Director of Research and Development in ULH NHS Trust, and visiting Professor, University of Lincoln. Between 1999 and 2005 he was Associate Lead Clinician for the Mid Trent Cancer Network.
Professor Eremin was appointed as Clinical Director for Trent CLRN in 2007; he has also been a member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Chair of the Research Board and Editor of the College Journal and Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Surgeon’ (1997 – 2007).
Hassan Chaudhury 
Director of Health Intelligence, Health iQ
Hassan specialises in understanding the needs of commissioners and clinicians and
translating them into solutions based on real-world data. He has been at the cutting-edge
of NHS Informatics at hospital, Primary Care Trust (PCT) and pan-London levels and has
been at the forefront of multiple NHS agendas and initiatives including World Class
Commissioning, 18 Weeks, Lord Darzi’s Quality Agenda and QIPP. He has been involved in the launch of 3 major online healthcare systems within the NHS. He is currently a member of the Lay Advisory Group Committee at the Royal College of Ophthalmologists where he advises on various topics including informatics.