EDITORIAL: NHS blue print is an opportunity

Substance or spin - that is the question hanging over the much hyped new national ’blue print’ for the NHS. While admittedly much of the document hams it up for a restless audience, buried between the lines are some real opportunities for intervention by pharmaceutical companies, PR practitioners and consultancies.

Substance or spin - that is the question hanging over the much

hyped new national ’blue print’ for the NHS. While admittedly much of

the document hams it up for a restless audience, buried between the

lines are some real opportunities for intervention by pharmaceutical

companies, PR practitioners and consultancies.



Taken at face value, the blue print could be seen as yet another barrier

erected by this Government. Certainly the climate has changed

dramatically since Frank Dobson created an opening for briefings during

his first fumbling attempts to get to grips with the NHS.



In fact, a distinct chill fell over relations after the launch of Viagra

as the Government stiffened its resolve over private/NHS

prescriptions.



And when NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) turned down

the application for NHS distribution of Relenza in September, agencies

and pharmaceutical companies had no option but to broaden their focus

from prescribers to policy makers.



NICE is particularly sensitive about the concept of lobbying, but while

overt presentation from pharmaceutical companies is still limited, the

new blue print has effectively opened a back door for PR through its

greater focus on the voice of the consumer.



Pharmaceutical PRs have long lobbied disaffected patient groups, but now

that these groups have been given a real voice within NICE and at a

local level, patient power has taken on a whole new meaning.



Viewed in this light, the blue print begins to take on a rather rosy

hue.



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