Walking in each others’ shoes: Industry leader shadows NHS chief executive for a day

The chief executive of global pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo shadowed the chief executive of Plymouth NHS Trust, Ann James, for a day in May. They were connected by the SWAHSN’s commercial development manager, Paula Varndell. Simon Clough spent the day with Ann and her executive team at the hospital. He found out about their work programmes and current challenges.

Paula said: ‘What was truly fascinating to all of us was that Simon was experiencing some of the same challenges in his own, apparently totally different, organisation. Seeing what industry and the NHS have in common is a crucial step to helping them work together more meaningfully. That is the goal of the shadow days.’

This was the second shadow day instigated by Paula. The first was held at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust when chief executive Angela Pedder hosted Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of British Pharmacy Industries (ABPI) on 31 October last year.

We hope to launch a third shadow day with Astra Zeneca’s UK president, Lisa Anson, and the chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Bill Shields. It is anticipated this may happen in July and, for the first time, in the series, Bill would return the visit and shadow Lisa at Astra Zeneca a few months later.

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