Comms can underpin NHS reforms agenda

A senior NHS professional has identified comms between pharma firms and GP consortia as the 'bedrock' for the success of the NHS reforms.

Relationships: Gibbins said a fundamental comms job was needed
Relationships: Gibbins said a fundamental comms job was needed

Mark Wilkinson, director of the NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board, was speaking at a briefing hosted by healthcare agency Packer Forbes last week.

The NHS Life Sciences Innovation Delivery Board is a partnership between senior NHS leaders, regulators (including NICE), senior policy makers and professionals from the pharma industry. Their remit is to identify ways of working together for the benefit of patients.

Under the reforms set out in the recent NHS white paper, primary care trusts will be dissolved to make way for about 450 GP-commissioning consortia. They will manage NHS budgets while delivering savings of £20bn over the next four years.

'Both the NHS and pharma firms need to re-invent the way they do business together,' said Wilkinson. 'Innovation and collaboration have to be top of the agenda in order to shape a business-to-business relationship that is based on strong trust. The bedrock is good comms between those who can make change happen.'

Packer Forbes MD Anna Gibbins said building the relationship between pharma firms and GPs was a job for healthcare comms professionals: 'There is a fundamental comms job that needs to be done to get these partnerships going.'

Gibbins had previously warned PR consultancies to prepare for a changing environment. She predicted that healthcare PR would become 'less about product and more about creating joint initiatives with the NHS' (, 22 November 2010).

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