News

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 8 February 2017

Media Summary

Letter: Medical imports placed at risk by likely exit path

Financial Times, Martin Sawer, 7 February 2017

In response to Jonathan Ford’s article yesterday, Regulation risk to medicines overplayed, Martin Sawer, Executive Director of HDA UK, has written to the Financial Times. His letter re-evaluates the impact of Brexit on the UK pharmaceutical industry. The Letter critiques Jonathan Ford’s underestimation of the potential negative impact on the medicines supply chain in the UK after leaving the European Union. If, as looks likely, the UK was to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union, this could result in the loss of the common trademark regulations, operated across the European Economic Area (EEA). As a result, it would be harder for UK-based medicine distributors to import vital medicines from the rest of the EEA to service the needs of British patients and the NHS. There is a high probability that this could then result in an increased risk of medicines shortages in the UK and a rise in the cost of medicines for the NHS. Working with the Government, regulators and supply chain partners, HDA UK can ensure that UK patients are not negatively affected by the vote to leave the European Union.

Dalton: Scrap national targets and merge CCGs to speed service change

HSJ, Dave West, 8 February 2017

One of the NHS’s most influential chief executives, Sir David Dalton, has said it is taking too long to deliver the Five Year Forward View and has proposed a series of policy changes, including abolishing national access targets, to speed up the Forward View. In an article on HSJ, Sir David Dalton criticises that ‘decision making takes too long’ in the health service. He suggests removing provider trusts’ ‘right of veto’ over change as well as a reduction in the number of local commissioners.

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Lords, Debates, Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

07 February 2017

Amendments to the Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill were debated; a full transcript can be found here.

Full Coverage

Letter: Medical imports placed at risk by likely exit path

Financial Times, Martin Sawer, 7 February 2017

Sir, it is correct to say that the UK’s strengths in pharmaceuticals will survive and potentially flourish further post-Brexit, but Jonathan Ford has significantly underestimated the potential negative impact on the medicines supply chain –  Regulation risk to medicines overplayed (7 February).  If, as looks likely, the UK was to leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union, this could result in the loss of the common trademark regulations, operated across the European Economic Area (EEA).

As a result, UK-based medicine distributors would no longer be able to easily and swiftly import vital medicines from the rest of the EEA to service the varying needs of British patients and the NHS. There is a high probability that this could then result in an increased risk of medicines shortages in the UK and a rise in the cost of medicines for the NHS.

As the Association that represents companies responsible for distributing 92% of NHS medicines, we look forward to working with the Government, regulators and supply chain partners to ensure that UK patients are not negatively affected by the vote to leave the European Union.

Martin Sawer, Executive Director, Healthcare Distribution Association UK (HDA UK)

Dalton: Scrap national targets and merge CCGs to speed service change

HSJ, Dave West, 8 February 2017

Sir David Dalton writes in an article on hsj.co.uk today that “decision making takes too long” in the health service. He proposes the removal of provider trusts’ “right of veto” over change and a large reduction in the number of local commissioners.

The NHS is ‘taking too long to deliver improvements’, Sir David Dalton said. The Salford Royal and Pennine Acute trust chief executive says: “We all praised what the forward view wanted us to do – but sadly we are behind on organising how it can be delivered at pace. Despite good work on integration and new models of care, it is taking us too long to deliver improvements.”

The NHS is currently under pressure to demonstrate that its plan is working, amid very poor waiting times performance, quickly growing demand, and with a huge effort underway to reduce provider deficits.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens is expected to use a Five Year Forward View update document next month to demonstrate progress, as well as signalling what additional resources may be needed from government.

Sir David, who has been one of the most influential chief executives in the NHS over the past decade, says in the article: “Decision making takes too long with 238 trusts self-determining their own strategy for their limited catchment area.

“Inertia prevails when providers put their own organisational interests ahead of the population they should serve. This ‘power of veto’ should be removed and the role of a provider should be reset to deliver operational excellence to agreed quality standards.”

His 10 suggestions for accelerating progress include replacing national targets with locally selected indicators, as the current regime “distorts real priorities” with “diminishing returns”.

He says of commissioners: “[Clinical commissioning groups’] responsibility for commissioning hospital services should be unified rapidly to commission for a one million population. There should be single contracts or commissions covering multiple providers across a whole STP footprint, across service lines or patient populations… The number of CCGs should reduce significantly.”

In relation to targets he says: “No other healthcare system has the number of performance targets the English NHS has. The sheer volume distorts real priorities and colossal expenditure is providing diminishing returns.

“Access targets are now much less important than meeting the agreed seven day NHS Clinical Standards… Current targets should be replaced with locally selected key performance indicators (from a national thematic list) and publicly reported balanced scorecards should be used – where the need for improvement is seen ‘in the round’.”

Sir David also says staff satisfaction should be a greater focus and warns: “Many staff, whether in primary, community or acute care, are showing signs of fatigue and helplessness. Their continued devotion cannot be assumed and their discretionary effort will be withheld unless new workforce supply strategies result in safer staffing levels.”

He also calls for “linking pay improvement to the contribution individuals and teams make to the goals and values of their employer”.

HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 8 February 2017

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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