Don’t Get Left Behind With Place Level NHS Market Access Opportunities

The NHS is moving toward integrated care systems, as we know. And this means operating at four different levels:

  • System level
  • Place level
  • Primary care network level
  • Individual practice level.

As the Pharma and Med Tech industry gets to grips with the new landscape, it’s important to take a holistic view of all four levels because those that become fixated with system level conversations risk being squeezed out by others who take the time to understand how the new world works.

Each level presents fantastic opportunities for Pharma and Med Tech to get on board. But the key one to understand is the development of PLACE – which is just one step below the full integrated care system.

Place is usually defined by the NHS around the boundary of a local authority, particularly if it’s a unitary authority. They vary wildly in scale – some of them are formed around district councils or an area served by a local hospital. Others are simply based around a group of centres of population that have worked well together historically.

It’s absolutely essential that industry understands what’s happening at Place Level to avoid missing out on golden opportunities.

Provider collaboratives are already emerging

We’re already seeing a big focus on strengthening local partnerships at Place Level, with policy now shifting completely towards collaboration over competition among local providers within integrated care systems. Through our own experience we’ve seen provider collaboratives formed within an integrated care system, and also operating at Place Level.

How it works is straightforward enough. The local GP federation, primary care networks, hospital, community service provider, mental health trust, community and voluntary sectors come together, within their Place footprint, and look at how they start to develop Place-based services.

They have the power to implement local decisions without being dictated to from above – which means they now play a critical central role in local healthcare provision. And that’s where Pharma, Med Tech and Devices need to engage.

One size doesn’t fit all

It’s important to realise that every area is going to work in a slightly different way because local population needs will differ from one place to the next. What works at place level in Newcastle won’t work at place level in Warwickshire. I’m already having experience of Place-Level work that focuses on connecting people and getting a real understanding of how much that can vary geographically.

But what is common is a focus on transforming local services and collectively tackling inequalities head on. They want to discover the wider determinants of how people achieve their health outcomes. And this work is not restricted to the medical sphere. Factors such as social care, housing and benefits all play a part in determining a population’s health outcomes.

In Fleetwood and Rutland, I’ve been involved with customers who are laser-focused on mobilising local communities. They engage the population, local government, voluntary sector and big hospital organisations to fundamentally drive change.

This crucial work creates real multi-agency partnerships. Local community and voluntary sector organisations have a hugely important role in all this working in collaboration with the NHS and other local stakeholders. This collaboration provides another opportunity for industry to engage with the right local stakeholders and inject projects and ideas into the development, implementation and delivery of the local vision.

This is where the data and tools supplied by Pharma and Med Tech will fit in really well. There will be some incredible opportunities to work with local stakeholders and partner organisations and the scale of these opportunities should not be underestimated.

Budgets are shifting closer to communities

The Bill currently working its way through Parliament – an update to the Health and Social Care Act – indicates significant budget being delegated to place for local agreements. Decisions will be made as close to the local communities as they can be.

The focus will be on delivering a joined-up approach at place level, based on a local vision and local shared priorities. That’s what will drive the provider agenda. There will be place-based provider collaboratives looking at how these approaches can be pulled together.

I’ve already seen the local hospital, GPs, community services, the community and voluntary sector and often the commissioners come together to develop their local view and their response to the local ask.

It’s a significant opportunity that is going to mean identifying and connecting to a whole group of new stakeholders.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss any of the points raised in this article.

Scott McKenzie helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision-makersScott and his team have doubled revenue for their clients and can share these processes with you too.