On 29th September 2022, we brought together market access professionals from across Pharma and Medtech for our NHS Engagement Symposium: ‘People, pathways and payments – Mastering the key pillars of NHS engagement in 2023’. Attendees heard from a varied selection of speakers and panellists from our network of NHS Associates.
Throughout the day our guests shared insights and examples to help us explore how industry can better engage with NHS decision makers to drive change and improve patient care whilst achieving their own commercial objectives.
A couple of weeks on from the event, we asked NHS and Mtech Access symposium participants to share their key takeaways, insights and reflections.
Key takeaways and reflections:
Yousaf Ahmad (ICS Chief Pharmacist and Director of Medicines Optimisation, Frimley Health and Care ICS):
Yousaf was a panellist in our morning sessions exploring the new decision makers in the NHS and the changing face of value propositions.
There is a need for a continuation of the dialogue between NHS and industry to better understand the changing landscape of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).
Pharma and Medtech’s ‘status quo’ materials, communications and service offerings that were presented to the NHS prior to ICS formation are now inadequate post ICS formation. Going forward, NHS engagement materials need to be population health-led and thus localised to the system. Therefore, production of universal material will become obsolete.
Long-term funding/investment for medicines will be led by population health and the health care inequalities across and between systems. As such, funding will vary.
On reflection, the symposium presents us with an opportunity to recalibrate the relationship between the NHS and industry to promote a more collaborative and collegiate partnership.
Dr Hussain Gandhi (Clinical Director, Nottingham City East PCN)
Hussain spoke alongside Yousaf in our ‘new decision makers’ and ‘value propositions’ panel sessions.
From the perspective of someone in the system, I feel surprised at how little those in industry knew about the changes, the driving force behind them and the resulting impact. Many approached me after asking about why these changes happened and what drives what I do. Mentioning just the PCN DES created several blank faces.
To expand on Yousaf’s comments about the impact population health will have – this is the future direction of care. Understanding the motivations and levers in this will be key for the NHS and industry.
Patrick McGinley (Head of Costing and Service Line Reporting, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust)
Patrick presented a illuminating session on the role of finance in healthcare decision making.
Primarily, what a great day, and the impact of being face to face was stunning. David [Thorne] set the tone so well, and having early panel and then question and answers really helped set a direction of re-engaging and enquiry for the day. I think that allowed my session to show how finance works through the work from everyone else, and especially that cost minimisation is now more important than the tariff/income generation approach.
I was pleasantly surprised at how energising it was to meet face-to-face. Though, I was not surprised at the reaction from industry at how much had changed during the pandemic. Block contract rather than PbR has altered a lot of models and approaches. I do think that the system approach expands how industry can be involved, particularly in areas like OD or knowledge management for instance, that haven’t been part of traditional procurement/offerings.
Since the symposium, I have been thinking more about how we can engage in a meaningful way with value-based contracting, as well as establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can demonstrate value to patients, rather than volume of patients. I’ve also been thinking about how we can link service for the patient in the most appropriate location, which benefits the patient the most, and reduces cost.
David Thorne (Principal Associate, Mtech Access and Business Development Director, Well Up North PCN)
David opened the day with a short overview of the evolving NHS landscape. He also took to the stage to facilitate the final session of the day – an interview with Prof Phil Richardson focusing on how partnerships between NHS and industry could be improved.
What were the key themes I have taken away?
The dynamic environment and, therefore, the extent of the challenge facing industry in terms of the pressure to change. Another key theme was just how challenged the NHS is just now, and that was before the fiscal impact of the Government’s current problems.
What did I find most insightful / surprising?
The variance in awareness across clients of the changing environment and just how difficult it is for them to keep up with that change, never mind get ahead of it.
It was good to see the positive level of engagement from varied NHS speakers and their willingness to work with clients.
What have I reflected on since the symposium?
The need to have more of these events to help us explore and address challenges. These include the difficulty for our clients of overcoming regulatory and compliance hurdles. Also, the challenge for both Mtech Access and our clients in finding a response to population health management when evidence necessarily is reported in narrow clinical definitions.
Prof. Phil Richardson (then Executive Director, NHS Dorset ICS; now Chair & Chief Innovation Officer, Mtech Access)
Phil spoke in the last session of the day, exploring how industry and the NHS could improve how they work with and alongside each other. He has since joined the Mtech Access team as Chair & Chief Innovation Officer.
Building on what’s been said above, I think there are three key themes:
1) Industry needs to find a way to collaborate if it is to offer value at the system level. Which is why we need an industry forum where leaders from industry can come together to support co-design and co-production and drive value for systems and better care for patients.
2) Each ICS is different. We need a way to get a ‘personalised’ view of each system’s challenges. There are also different approaches to decision making and the NHS Associates can play a key role here. We could also think about sense making for the NHS teams as much of the national ‘best practice’ needs alignment locally by system leaders challenged by the pressures of operational delivery. There is a role to play here for a wider joined-up approach.
3) Based on the success of this event, the symposium could become a ‘must attend’ national event, attracting keynotes speakers from the most senior levels of the NHS to allow problem solving, innovation and value based transformation to be inspired at scale.
Lydia Crowe (Commercial Director, Mtech Access)
Lydia represented Mtech Access’ UK market access teams at the symposium and gave our welcoming and closing announcements.
Whilst I learnt a huge amount from our guest speakers, and really valued hearing about their pressures and priorities, for me the highlight of the day was the enthusiasm and passion demonstrated by our industry colleagues.
There is obviously a desire from both the NHS and industry to collaborate and work in partnerships to do the best for patients. I look forward to exploring how we can be a part of making this happen better in the future.
What were your takeaways from the NHS Engagement Symposium? What have you since reflected on? How will you be adapting your market access strategy?
Contact us at email@example.com to explore in more detail the evolving NHS landscape and what this means for your market access strategy.
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