Working with the pharmaceutical industry

The NHS faces many challenges. Economic pressures are unprecedented with a ceaseless drive for improved quality and productivity in the system. NHS organisations are increasingly calling on external expertise to enable them to meet these challenges, recognising that joint working with partners who can supplement their own skills and resources can provide benefits that are not otherwise achievable.

One such partner is the pharmaceutical industry, which apart from supplying medicines that improve the quantity and quality of patients’ lives, can contribute skills and expertise arising from its particular experience in business and financial management and its extensive knowledge of the therapy areas relevant to its medicines.

Bristol CCG recognises the contribution that the pharmaceutical industry can make to improving the health of the population of Bristol, not only by producing medicines that play a crucial role in maintaining health, preventing illness, managing chronic conditions and curing disease, but also from their willingness to provide non-promotional support (e.g. education and training).

It is important that we manage conflicts of interest to ensure that patient safety and quality of care is paramount, and for this reason we have a Policy for Sponsorship and Joint Working with the Pharmaceutical Industry that is in the public domain and reviewed periodically. This policy aims to ensure that we benefit from such joint working without compromising our transparent and unbiased approach to improving patient care.

DOCUMENT - Sponsorship of Activities and Joint Working by the Pharmaceutical Industry Policy

Bristol CCG only endorses or promotes the use of specific medicines or classes of medicines through the BNSSG Joint Formulary Group, which is a collaboration between the CCGs and acute trusts in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. 

This group makes transparent and unbiased decisions about individual medicines through a robust process involving critical appraisal of the evidence base, and only at the request of a clinician.

The BNSSG Joint Formulary Group updates the BNSSG Joint Formulary on a regular basis accordingly. Any decisions to fund individual medicines by NICE in the form of a Technology Appraisal are automatically reflected in the BNSSG Joint Formulary within the mandatory timeframe.

Non medical prescribing

Our member practices are required to inform Bristol CCG when they employ a new non-medical prescriber or engage their services as a locum. We then notify the NHS Business Services Authority; the organisation that processes dispensed prescriptions for payment.

The NHSBSA use this information to ensure that expenditure is attributed to the appropriare commissioner who can then be charged, and can view data on what has been prescribed, and by whom.

For further information see: Guidance for non-medial prescribers joining practices in Bristol CCG (PDF)

Controlled drugs

NHS England - South (South West) holds the role and responsibility of Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer for the South West of England.

Concerns relating to controlled drugs can be brought to the attention of the accountable officer:

  • Sharing concerns
  • Raising a complaint
  • Reporting a patient safety incident
  • Raising a concern on professional practice (whistle blowing)
  • To request a witness for the destruction of out of date CDs

The Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer at NHS England (South West) is Sue Mulvenna who can be contacted via her Project Officer Vicky Bawn:

Email:  Call: 0113 824 8129.

Other controlled drugs related documents and guidance: