At a glance: Community Health Partnerships

What are they? Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) are the new bodies to which responsibility for local health services in Scotland will be devolved as part of the NHS Reform (Scotland) Bill introduced last year. The legislation is due to be passed this week.

How is this change seen by health professionals?

Largely as a welcome one, giving patients and staff more say. Local responsibility for the delivery of GP services, pharmacy and community nursing makes sense. The new structure should provide flexible access to diagnostic and treatment facilities and improved care planning.

So everyone’s happy?

Far from it. There is a big job for pharma PROs to do here in terms of explaining the advantages of private-sector involvement in healthcare provision. The BMA says GPs in Scotland have decidedly mixed views about the involvement of the private sector in CHPs; specifically they are concerned about getting into bed with commercial outfitss. Information programmes for this key stakeholder group are evidently needed since the opportunities are obviously there.

Do GPs have other concerns?

Yes, but they relate more to the make-up of new management boards. CHPs are intended to replace the Local Healthcare Co-operatives (LHCCs) established four years ago as voluntary groupings of GP practices to develop and improve local services. Doctors are worried that they will not have enough influence in the new set-up.

What’s the timescale?

Assuming legislation is passed as expected, CHPs should be up and running before the year’s end.

Is there anywhere PROs should be looking for guidance?

North-East Scotland.

That’s oil country, isn’t it?

Yes. But the Grampian region also has a CHP, set up ahead of legislation and replacing four LHCCs, so it will be worth examining the way pharma companies there are promoting their products and services.

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