The first ever ABPI Regional Event (South) took place last Friday, 10 May in Reading and saw an audience of pharma with a smattering of NHS learn more about the ABPI regional groups and joint-working. 
Meeting chair Jill Loader, NHS England – South commented of the new NHS: “We can’t have more of the same, it is not affordable and we need transformational change and to change thinking.” 

Joint working - why should we bother?"We have learned in the south-west that to work locally together we need to build local relationships and levels of trust. Transparency is important. What is the NHS getting out of it, what is industry and what is the patient?”

Di Vegh, regional partnership manager South, ABPI and Lisa Rosewarne, strategic healthcare development manager MSD and chair ABPI regional industry group South, introduced the new ABPI Partnership Team South. 
“It is not about promoting a company, therapy area or product or trying to improve your marketshare,” Di Vegh explained.  “And it is definitely not the only way that pharma can engage with the [new] NHS, but it is one way.”
Lisa Rosewarne explained that 12-15 places are available in each region for experienced pharma market access personnel. The groups are funded by the ABPI and the regional manager provides the secretariat function:

South RIG 

Chair: Lisa Rosewarne (MSD) Strategic Healthcare Development Manager; Manager: Di Vegh 

Midlands RIG

Chair: Richard Price (Pfizer) Regional Manager for the West Midlands and Wales; Manager: Andy Riley

London RIG

Chair: Stephen Fensome (Almirall) Regional Business Manager; Manager: Karen Thomas

North RIG

Chair: Lee Gittings (Pfizer) Regional Director - Yorkshire, Humberside & East Midlands; Manager: Harriet Lewis
The South group has defined its KPIs, to work together to change the NHS environment to be more positive to industry with a particular focus on managed medicines and deconstructing barriers. The key is around medicines as an opportunity to improve patient outcomes, not as a cost barrier.
Task and finish group have been set up in areas including Stakeholder mapping, AHSNs, Formularies  Good Practice Guide, NICE implementation and Medicines Optimisation.
Lisa described the challenges in setting up the groups, from sign-off of the terms of reference to technical hitches in remote conferencing. There are achievements too: the opportunity for the groups to have access to NHS speakers, involvement in specialist commissioning and therapy groups and a framework for local joint-working requests.

Steve Sparks, associate director for the NICE field team provided a lively perspective on the changes at NICE. Priorities include rebuilding networks within the commissioning environment to identify decision makers and understanding their challenges. He also flagged opportunities to link with the ABPI and pharma industry to enable knowledge sharing and systems, NICE pathways and the expansion into social care and value-based pricing. “Do look at the programme of Quality Standards development and get involved,” he encouraged the audience.

Martin Stephens, interim managing director of the not-yet-licenced Wessex AHSN, is poised to deliver a collaborative five year plan to reduce variation in quality of healthcare and in making sure that patients have access to clinical trials and research. Different parts of the country have different programmes and in Wessex the focus is on mutual recognition and engaging with the Strategic Network and with Health England Essex and in dialogue with the Commissioning Support Unit. There are a number of operational programmes including quality improvement, some in collaboration with ABPI members; and particularly relevant to industry the Life Sciences Working group, looking to partner to find ways to innovate and identify and solve problems working with industry. There is also an interesting proposal around the implementation of NICE technology appraisals – stickiness clinics – to identify local practical barriers to meeting the 90 day requirement.
“There will be specific programmes where industry help might be needed,” concluded Martin Stephens. Find out more about Wessex AHSN.

Hassan Chaudury, director of health intelligence, Health iQ provided a useful case study example of a data collection exercise in diabetes that had brought together individual practice data at a CCG level and allowed risk stratification, tracking of patient outcomes and best outcomes for patients. Importantly there is a long-term legacy with the potential for this data, now extracted regularly to be analysed for other measures such as COPD or atrial fibrillation. 

The afternoon session work-shopped the definitions of joint-working with one or two surprises as the audience failed to spot programmes that were not technically joint working. Pharma engages in sponsorship, medical education goods and services, promotion and joint-working with the NHS. “We must be clear about which ones we are doing in front of the people we are talking to,” said the ABPI’s Kevin Blakemore, speaking in the context of trust and transparency.
Different audiences use different definitions, within the NHS and industry and even within individual companies. When it comes to joint working the key output from the meeting was that any summary of a project, when set out, must tick all the boxes set out on the ABPI/ DH Joint Working Guide. There is otherwise a risk of damage to a relationship built on trust. Kevin Blakemore provided a series of useful templates and guides including:

All of the documents listed above, and more, can be found at the archived Department of Health webpage Moving beyond sponsorship: Interactive toolkit for joint working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry.


Speaker biographies

Jill Loader
Regional Pharmacist, NHS England - South 
Jill Loader qualified as a pharmacist at the Welsh School of Pharmacy and later completed a doctorate at the University of Bath, on the purchasing and provision of  hi-tech healthcare at home. She has worked in a range of roles as a senior pharmacist, including at the NHS South SHA and subsequently the NHS Commissioning Board transition team. She is now the Regional Pharmacist for the southern region of NHS England.
Steve Sparks 
Associate Director, NICE 
Steve Sparks is Associate Director with responsibility for the NICE Field Team and is Implementation Consultant for the South East of England. Steve has been with NICE for 6 and a half years. Steve joined NICE from the Sussex Acute Commissioning Service where he was Deputy Director. This was preceded by 4 years as Assistant Director of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Local Specialist commissioning Group. 
Steve has spent over 10 years working in general management in acute hospitals including 2 years as Deputy Secretary of the Medical School at Barts and the London. Prior to joining NICE Steve was a member of the Guidance Development Group that produced the NICE guidance on Brain and Central Nervous Systems cancer and acted as an NHS expert to the NICE Health Technology Appraisal on Orphan Drugs.
Martin Stephens BPharm, MSc, MCPP, MRPharm
Interim Managing Director, Wessex Academic Health Science Network
Martin qualified and worked as a pharmacist in the West Midlands before becoming Chief Pharmacist at Wolverhampton. In 1997 he became Chief Pharmacist for Southampton hospitals, later taking on broader responsibility for clinical support services. From 2006 to 2008 Martin became divisional clinical director for support services, pathology and radiology, alongside his leadership role in clinical effectiveness for the trust. From 2008-2011 he worked half time at the Department of Health as National Clinical Director for hospital pharmacy – contributing to the national work on safer transfer of care, preventing venous thromboembolism and the QIPP medicines workstream. 
Currently seconded to the AHSN role, Martin is Associate Medical Director Clinical Effectiveness, Director of Pharmacy and Clinical Lead Support Services, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Martin wrote Strategic Medicines Management and edited Hospital Pharmacy, both published by the Pharmaceutical Press. 
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.