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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Healthcare community agree on principles for working together to improve patient health

Embargoed until 29 March 2012

Healthcare leaders from across the UK have today published a new set of guidelines to promote positive collaboration between health organisations and the pharmaceutical industry and help guide their working practices and interaction. The statement of best practice was signed by 18 healthcare organisations, including the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 


The publication comes as collaborative working becomes an increasingly important way for the NHS to address key health challenges in a constrained budgetary environment. 


The guidance has been formulated by the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG) which is comprised of leading figures from the professional, representative and regulatory bodies from the health professional community and life sciences industry. The Group was established to address issues in partnership which impact on the relationship between commercial organisations and health professionals and ensures that these relationships meet the high expectations of stakeholders, and particularly patients.


Specifically the statement:


  • Acknowledges that active collaboration can deliver better patient care and improved outcomes.
  • Clearly describes the current working environment in which pharmaceutical companies and health care professionals operate and the rules and regulations to which all parties must abide. 
  • Details in a "Dos and Don’ts" section, every day, practical advice for those working in collaboration to improve patient outcomes

Commenting on the launch, Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: "The NHS and pharmaceutical industry share a common agenda to improve patient care and clinical outcomes through high quality and cost effective treatment and care management.  With this shared interest, pulling expertise and resources allows us to together tackle disease more effectively.


"This collaborative way of working is becoming increasingly common and we already have many examples that show how effective it can be.  The publication of this statement by a broad base of health organisations will help assure professionals of the good work they are doing and make all sides aware of their responsibilities. Ultimately, we hope this will encourage further collaborative working and in turn, greater strides will be made in improving the health of patients."

Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "We are very pleased to have collaborated with so many organisations on this valuable document. The College recognises the important and valid contribution made by pharmaceutical companies and other commercial organisations to patient care, research and education, and we hope this document will provide clear guidance for both healthcare professionals and the industry on best practice."

The 18 organisations who have signed the document are: Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Pharmaceutical Society, British Medical Association, Department of Health, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, Institute of Healthcare Management, The Lancet, Medical Schools Council, NHS Confederation, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of Nursing, The Scottish Government and The Welsh Government.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


Note to editors:

The Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG) is a multi-stakeholder group with representation from professional, representative and regulatory bodies from the health professional community, the life sciences industry (covering diagnostics, medical devices and pharmaceuticals) as well as patient organisations. The Group’s role is to evolve the relationship between healthcare professionals and commercial life science organisations to ensure that it meets the expectations of stakeholders and creates a platform for increased collaboration and partnership for the benefit of patients. It will do this by promoting positive, collaborative behaviours and addressing areas of reputational vulnerability to health professionals and commercial organisations.


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