Look beyond your product to the problems you could solve

Let’s get one thing straight – if anyone in the Pharma, MedTech and Devices industry thinks the NHS is not now implementing the recovery plan after COVID 19 then they need to think again.

I’ve been away from home all last week. On Monday, I worked with an integrated care system around the development of their Provider Collaborative. On Tuesday morning and afternoon, I worked with two separate primary care networks. On Wednesday, I spent the afternoon working with a primary care network. On Thursday I had five primary care networks online for a workshop and then a federation board meeting and on Friday I had another primary care network meeting.

It’s all work linked to picking up the threads of where we’re up to with the primary care network DES – Directed Enhanced Service – and the Investment and Impact Fund.

Everyone’s focusing on the contracts

For the networks this week’s workshops have very much been about:

  • What are we expected to do, contractually?
  • Where are we against that as we start to pick up the threads, where did we get to with the contractual work?
  • And how are we going to plan it forward from April?

What’s been really noticeable as we’ve worked through those topics this week is no one has got anywhere near looking at the Investment and Impact Fund. All the focus has been on the contractual requirements of the Direct Enhanced Service.

We’ve been looking at things like medicines optimisation and review, enhanced health in care homes, early cancer diagnosis, tackling inequalities, prevention of cardiovascular disease and, the big one, the move in October this year for the primary care networks to be handling extended access – 6.30pm to 8pm.

Also, because of a contract imposition – and we need to be clear about that, it has not been accepted as a contract, it’s an imposed contract by NHS England – the practices are going to have to work out how they collaborate to offer access to patients 9am to 5pm on a Saturday.

They can do that through the primary care network or potentially through a GP federation so they can be quite creative about it. In my work last week, we looked at what type of clinics could be run on a Saturday that would support patients and practices alike. If you can think and engage more widely than your product this provides another great route for you. I ended my week by contacting three of the pharma companies I support with new opportunities for them.

You can help the NHS to solve their problems

All of this opens significant opportunities for the pharmaceutical, medical technology and appliance companies that can park their product and think: “How do I help the practices, the networks, the GP federations and the systems deliver on those targets?”

All the targets are there for people to see – we know what’s required in the network DES and we know what’s required in the Investment and Impact Fund.

So, how do you help them solve those problems? Where do your value-added projects fit to enable them to do something different?

As an example, I had a chat with one of my pharmaceutical company clients about how they could position themselves in the primary care network DES. So, when they run their audits, they can start to support the delivery of the medicines optimisation and review. They can also support delivery of the enhanced health in care homes part of the DES.

This company is going to give the primary care network additional pharmacist capacity, which is great. Admittedly, the NHS will still need to provide a clinical lead to support the project, but the company has the opportunity to remove a huge workload burden from General Practice/NHS by providing additional nurses, pharmacists, and individuals who can input, run the audits, see the patients and do the updates to the projects and value-added services, all while helping the NHS deliver what’s required of them contractually.

I’ve also suggested we add a two-cycle CQC clinical audit while we’re delivering that project. That also means your organisation could support a GP registrar or a foundation pharmacist who needs an audit as part of their training.

So there’s some brilliant opportunities in just one small project – help them deliver what’s required contractually, help them deliver a two-cycle CQC audit and help them enable a trainee to deliver that audit as part of their training.

It’s time to take advantage of the service restart and start picking up those threads.

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.