How taking a local approach to medical education can benefit pharma

The localism act received Royal Ascent in November 2011, devolving greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and giving local communities more control over housing and planning decisions.

But localism isn’t just a political phenomenon. The trend to valuing smaller, local activities versus those on a national or global scale is seen in many walks of life from food production to how charities are organised. It is also a central factor in the effective delivery of health and social care as part of the current NHS reforms.

As Duncan Selbie, chief executive designate of Public Health England, commented in his recent blog for The Guardian, the NHS cannot solve the problems caused by our aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases on its own. “The solutions are about so much more than health services – the places we live, the start we get in life, the opportunities that come along and the choices we make. That’s why it’s vital that we make the most of the chance we have been given to make a difference now, with local government taking the lead”.

Pharmaceutical companies have long recognised the need to adopt a local, service-driven approach to relationships with the NHS through genuine partnership and Joint Working. At Aurora, we believe that a similar, local focus can also help make medical education programmes more relevant to delegates and support local implementation of new treatment strategies.

National meetings rarely address the broader needs of healthcare professionals. Not only do they need to get to grips with the clinical data supporting innovative new medicines, they also need to see how it can help benefit local care pathways and help deliver on the QIPP agenda to improve the quality and delivery of NHS care while reducing costs.

A more local approach can also help to extend the scope of the meeting to address the needs of the broader local team, involving those responsible for service configuration and design as well as the clinical team. Commissioners and service managers at a trust level will have a big say on which drugs will be used, looking beyond the immediate clinical benefits to the impact it might have on staffing, estate, any additional costs associated with the initiation or administration of the treatment, as well as the cost of managing any potential side effects.

On a more basic level, in these straitened times, there are fewer healthcare professionals who are willing and able to cancel clinics to attend an all-day national meeting. Most people prefer a shorter event held after hours, close to their centre and tailored to the specific needs of their team and the local challenges that they face. Working collaboratively with the local team to ensure that the educational events are tailored to meet their needs will help ensure that there will be a good return on your medical education investment.

Of course, successful adoption of a new treatment or technology in one Trust or NHS region increases the likelihood of the same approach being adopted in surrounding areas, as information about its benefits are communicated through local NHS networks.

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