The UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy should be required reading for every healthcare leader in the UK. It makes clear that the NHS must be an active participant with industry in delivering the shared objective of outstanding patient outcomes. In part that is because it is a monopoly purchaser but also because the NHS should be where innovative products are developed and tested. The NHS also offers a raft of advantages in terms of data and population health, which will be key determinants of a successful modern healthcare system.

This report shows there are plenty of excellent examples of cooperation and inspiring case studies, where the health service and some of its key suppliers have demonstrated that they can each benefit and more importantly, patients can benefit by using the skills and experience of both.

But the message here is also that we need to do more and do it at scale. The idea that collaboration with industry and research is mission critical has not been universally adopted, and there remains a danger that this activity will be seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must do.’ This report is designed to stimulate discussion and kick off a wider conversation, initially across England but with the hope that all parts of the UK will participate in the debate together with The ABPI and our colleagues in the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

The NHS Confederation will seek to engage with its members and with industry to achieve a step change in the relationship between the health service and its suppliers, to improve patient care and public wellbeing, and to help create a sustainable health and care system.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive,
NHS Confederation


The 2017 life sciences industrial strategy report recognised the NHS as a unique asset for life sciences and the economic growth of the UK. The UK government’s subsequent Life Sciences Sector Deals and the development of the Accelerated Access Collaborative have built upon the vision that rapid patient access to biomedical innovation can improve economic prosperity and population health – a theme further amplified in NHS Long Term Plan for England.

Realising the opportunity will depend on NHS and industry stakeholders collaborating to tackle health needs, prepare for transformative new developments such as cell and gene therapies and develop data assets that enable outcome-based planning. Success will be derived from demonstrating how innovative medicines and technologies can improve people’s health in real-world settings and by scaling these improvements nationally. The prize will be a virtuous circle that delivers health and economic benefits to the UK from a thriving life sciences ecosystem.

The formation of place-based health and care structures will support NHS and public sector organisations in England to deliver health gains for the people they serve – and, crucially, to measure those gains. The new structures also create an opportunity for more ambitious partnerships with industry. The ABPI is a passionate advocate of such partnerships, and our 2017 Memorandum of Understanding with Greater Manchester has led to more than a dozen new cross-sector projects being initiated and major health challenges such as COPD being rapidly addressed.

Further frameworks to stimulate cross-sector working are now in development across the UK.

Delivering change on this scale is not without challenge. Industry and NHS stakeholders have in the past been frustrated by the time taken to agree partnerships, concerns about governance and difficulties in aligning system needs with industry offers. We are investing resource to address these challenges because we believe that the vision described in these pages is so compelling – a ‘triple win’ of improved patient outcomes, more efficient use of NHS resources and evidence of impact for industry. We hope you find the content of this publication equally inspiring and look forward to working with you to raise the level of ambition for cross-sector working across the UK health and care landscape.

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive,
The Association of The British Pharmaceutical Industry


Download the PDF "A new ambition for cross-sector collaboration with the life sciences industry to support NHS sustainability and transformation"