Implementing Collaborative Working initiatives with the NHS in the UK


EFPIA supports public-private partnerships and industry collaboration across professions to leverage every opportunity to tackle challenges in our health ecosystem.

We recently caught up with one of our member companies, Boehringer Ingelheim UKIE (BI), to learn about their approach to collaborative working with the UK National Health Service (NHS).

The aim at BI, is to partner with the healthcare community at national, regional and local levels with a goal to improve outcomes for patients and benefit the NHS. In fact, they have a specific team dedicated to identifying and delivering opportunities to work in partnership with the UK National Health Service (NHS) with the goal of co-creating a longterm sustainable healthcare solution.

One of these projects, which won a Health Service Journal (HSJ) partnership award in 2021, is their Collaborative Working partnership with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) to improve care and outcomes for respiratory patients in Oxfordshire. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the second most common lung disease in the UK, affecting 1.2 million people.1 The annual direct care costs of COPD in England are £1.5bn, a significant burden to the NHS.2 COPD is the second most common cause of emergency admissions to hospital and one of the most costly inpatient conditions to be treated by the NHS.3

Working with local healthcare providers and bringing together their collective skills and expertise, the partnership project piloted a multidisciplinary integrated respiratory team that coordinated service provision around the needs of patients. This led to timely, coordinated care closer to home for respiratory patients in the area. The development of this proactive and preventative approach showed potential to reduce system costs and resulted in improved patient experience and outcomes.

Another example of how BI has partnered to improve patient care is their Collaborative Working project with Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. This was set up in response to data collected through the National Diabetes Audit that suggested there were inequities in achieving the diabetes treatment targets within the county of Wessex. The Collaborative Working partnership brought together skills and expertise to address these inequities and deliver quality improvement through an innovative primary care team approach. Specifically, the Collaborative Working project invested in additional Multidisciplinary team (MDT) co-ordinator resources to facilitate and sustain the goals of the MDT teams that support GP practices, which improved the treatment targets of people living with diabetes. 

Workforce and People-centricity are two of the core priorities identified in the EFPIA POWER Up Report and we believe these are great examples of partnership that foster and enable collaboration and co-ordination and in turn underpin people-centric integrated care models.

The team at BI establish these partnerships (here) utilising the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Collaborative Working framework which sets out a detailed scoping and governance process for Collaborative Working projects (here). The ABPI believe in the power of collaboration as the best way to improve outcomes for patients, address healthcare challenges and support the delivery of sustainable NHS health and care across the UK. You can read about these and other examples within the ABPI repository of case studies (here) which was set up to provide tangible examples of NHS-industry partnerships.

EFPIA believes now is the time to embrace lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and leverage renewed political and public prioritisation of health, to ambitiously POWER Up our future health systems. The pharmaceutical industry is a vital and committed partner to national health systems across Europe, and these initiatives are good examples of the value our industry is bringing in line with our POWER Up priorities to future-proof health systems. You can read more on this here: It’s time to Power Up health systems: a vision for future-proof health systems.



[1] British Lung Foundation. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) statistics. Available at: [accessed March 2022]

[2] British Lung Foundation. Literature review: the economic costs of lung disease and the cost effectiveness of policy and service interventions. Oct 2017. Available at: [accessed March 2022]

[3] NHS. An Outcomes Strategy for COPD and Asthma: NHS Companion Document. May 2012. Available at: [accessed March 2022]