Letters

How refreshing to read your news story, 'Package deals with drug firms on horizon' (page 4, 28 October). Surely it is time for all involved in healthcare to work in partnership for the benefit of everyone.

For too long, labels - with their limiting assumptions - have been attached to people who work for the NHS and people who work for pharmaceutical companies.

Many who choose to work for a pharmaceutical company share the same values as those who choose to work for the NHS. These values are the real basis for working in partnership.

The article refers to 'hostility to the deal from doctors and social services representatives on primary care groups', 'a lot of baggage and mistrust about the pharmaceutical industry' and 'some PCGs' making it clear 'they would have nothing to do with private sector deals'.

Those in the NHS who believe this should examine their assumptions. They will find that they are only assumptions and not facts. Why do I believe this?

Because I worked for the NHS as a private architect in the 1970s, then in sales and marketing for three pharmaceutical companies and now as a development consultant.

As an architect I worked in partnership with the people who were to work in the hospitals that we designed. I sought to understand their needs, then create something beyond the Department of Health's 'room user requirement sheets'.

Yes, they were slightly confused and possibly amused by my unconventional, partnership approach. I even experienced hostility from a consultant for breaking what he considered to be protocol. But by working together, we created better hospitals.

In the 1980s as a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company, I and other companies worked in partnership with a consultant to raise funds for a machine for removing tumours from the spine.

In the 1990s we developed several novel and exciting partnerships with fundholders and trusts, all aimed at improving healthcare quality and reducing costs. I even agreed to second one of my management team to a health authority, where he worked on a non-pharmaceutical project.

Today I work with PCGs, individual practices, a GP registrar scheme - and with the pharmaceutical industry.

To the people who remain reticent in trying to change the way things can be done, a quote from George Bernard Shaw: 'The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.'

Richard Holroyd High Wycombe