How Enhanced Access offers fresh opportunity to land your project with time-strapped NHS prospects

An observation I often hear from the Pharma, MedTech and Devices industry is that they present great projects to the NHS only for them to come back with: “I’m really sorry guys, I’ve got five million other things to do, I haven’t got the time to do this.”

When I hear the NHS has said that, there is only one response: “OK, over what period of time could we work with you and phase this in to make it happen?”

A patient that’s unwell – particularly if they’re undiagnosed or waiting on a hospital appointment – doesn’t just go home and sit and wait. Invariably, they’ll be in and out of general practice, often on repeated occasions. If they don’t get the outcome they want and they continue to feel unwell, the GP will undoubtedly see them again later on, sometimes repeatedly and frequently.

Phasing makes the project far less daunting

What must be kept in mind is that when general practice turns down a project, patients will turn up anyway, because they’re not well. So how do you get your project implemented?

One good example of this was some work I did for a client in Newcastle. They ran an audit which returned 484 patients that needed reviewing. The client looked at me and said: “Scott, behave. It doesn’t matter how good this project is, I haven’t got time to review 484 patients, there’s no way I’m going to get that done.”

I pointed out to them that at some point in the future these patients were going to turn up in the system. They’re not well, they’ve not had the outcome they need, they’ll be back.

The client needed to look at the problem in a different way and we eventually settled on two people reviewing five patients a week. Over 12 months, they would get through the 484 patients.

They did a bit of prioritisation to organise bringing in the patients to be reviewed. They phased it over a 12-month period and they’re about seven months into that now.

Enhanced access provides a new solution

Unless your NHS prospect tells you they are 100% happy with the current outcomes, more of the same input is simply going to drive more of the same outcome – and it’s important to remind them of that. Einstein defined insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome every time and that applies here. A change in approach is imperative.

Rather than dismissing a project because of time constraints, it’s much better to take a step back and see over what period of time – three months, six months, nine months, 12 months or even longer – we could phase a project to get it delivered. Other than that, we’ve got to be completely happy with the outcomes that we’re currently achieving.

Enhanced Access offers capacity for phased projects

Right now there is a major focus on the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) move to implement enhanced access on October 1. That will add additional capacity because PCNs will be operating evenings, 6.30pm to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 5pm (or commissioning another provider to do it on their behalf).

That’s exactly where some of my PCN clients are looking to get those new projects implemented. Enhanced access offers a new opening to look at the projects in a different light – opening up the chance to review patients in those new hours previously unavailable.

So next time your busy prospect dismisses your project based on time limitations, remind them that change is the only way to make progression and a phased approach is always possible, you just need to find a way to make it work for your operation.

Scott McKenzie helps pharmaceutical, medical technology and device firms increase revenue by getting their products and services in front of the right NHS decision makers. If you want to get your products fully embedded into treatment pathways we can help you. We’ve doubled revenue for our clients and can share these processes with you too. If you want to improve the way you sell to the NHS you can watch our free webinar here.