The agenda and speakers at the HMI Conference were testament to the contribution that the HMI was making towards knowledge sharing and indeed performance in the health care system, Mr. Liam Cullen, Director External Affairs and Public Policy, GSK Ireland, told the Conference.
He said he was struck, listening to the speakers, about how often healthcare experts were called on to leave their medical roles to step into the public spotlight to lead an inquiry or reform programme. “We all have different interpretations of public service but for me at least, Dr Gabriel Scally and Dr Tom Keane define public service and place people and passion at the centre of what they have done and continue to do. For that we should be very grateful.”
Mr. Cullen said the GSK strategy very much mirrored the theme of the HMI conference. “For us, Innovation, Performance and Trust are our three pillars. Innovation stands for our ability to bring forward new medicines and vaccines. We are very proud of our heritage in respiratory care and our contribution to public immunisation schedules around the world. We are excited by our return to oncology and the developments in respect of ovarian and skin cancer. But there are real public health concerns that often receive less attention. Antimicrobial resistance is real and like malaria and TB is stubbornly hard to combat. We are a commercial organisation but our commitment to public health is very much at the heart of our company strategy and is not just valued but expected by our employees.
“In terms of performance, we must bring new medicines and vaccines to market that represent value to the health system and that are supported by robust clinical data. When it comes to access to medicines, societal expectations are quite rightly growing. Patients expect governments to provide budgets to pay for innovative medicines and companies to charge fair prices to garner a return on investment. For our part, we must ensure that our new medicines offer the clinical benefit claimed by our clinical data and in return we expect a transparent and fair reimbursement process. Undoubtedly, reimbursement of medicines is more complicated than that, but if we approach the task with an agreed sense of fairness, we will be a long way down the road.
We must ensure that our new medicines offer the clinical benefit claimed by our clinical data and in return we expect a transparent and fair reimbursement process.
“Trust is fundamental to how we operate. It is very simply about getting quality medicines and vaccines to our patients in a safe and timely fashion. If we do so consistently, we win trust, if we don’t, it evaporates very quickly. Brexit and other challenges will come and go, but we must be consistent in the quality and security of our manufacturing and supply chains. Trust is driven by how we treat our patients and our employees; not for a day or a week but over months and years.
“So I hope in all of that you can see how our story chimes with the theme of People, Passion and Performance. “
Mr. Cullen said he had been in the car recently and was listening to the writer Michael Harding talk about his heart attack that he suffered last year after performing in the Draiocht Theatre in Blanchardstown. “ After hours of chest pains, he eventually called the A&E unit in Blanchardstown hospital. Within eight minutes, there were two paramedics tending to him. He spoke about the compassion and care that they provided on the way to the hospital. They were not looking for accolades. They were just ordinary health care workers doing their daily jobs with passion and performance. I am sure that example is replicated thousands of times over in every county in the country every day of the week.”
He said this was the eighth year that GSK had been associated with the HMI and its annual conference. “The relationship with the HMI is one that we value and it fully aligns with our ambition to help support a dynamic and progressive health care system in Ireland.
“Finally, I would like to congratulate Lorcan, the Council, Conor and Rosemarie of SHRC Limited for assembling such a stellar cast and interesting conference programme again this year. Thank you again for your on-going friendship.”