Three pharmaceutical companies have linked hands with the voluntary and public sectors under a unique joint working partnership that aims to improve the management of patients with epilepsy in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Drugmakers UCB, Eisai and GlaxoSmithKline have entered the pact alongside NHS Dumfries and Galloway and Epilepsy Scotland in the hope that working more closely together will significantly benefit over 1,500 patients with the condition living in the area.

Under the plans, a specialist nurse from Epilepsy Scotland will provide training to a wide range of healthcare professionals in order to enhance staff expertise, developing new pathways and protocols as well as providing advice and support for further staff training.

In addition, the nurse will also develop guidance for local support groups and work with them to establish a support network, thereby empowering patients to better manage their disease. 

It is hoped that this work will leave "a legacy of developed, efficient and effective systems and a well-educated workforce which will continue to cascade epilepsy expertise after the project ends", explains participant UCB.

Those involved were keen to stress that despite contributing resources and practical support, such as IT software for auditing and tracking purposes, there will be no financial gain whatsoever for the pharma companies involved, but taking part will help to attain the shared goal of better patient-centred care. 

'Innovative proposal'

"This innovative proposal allows the research-led pharmaceutical industry to work with our partners to improve the delivery of healthcare and focus on improving outcomes for patients at a time of significant financial challenge," explained Gordon Lundie, UCB’s Government Affairs & Market Access Director.

Also applauding the move, Epilepsy Scotland Chief Executive Lesslie Young said: "This novel collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sector sets a new benchmark in joint working for better healthcare and has led to a project that is unique in the UK," said Epilepsy Scotland Chief Executive Lesslie Young.