Guidance and arrangements:

In the latest NHS England guidance for the management of Conflicts of Interests (Managing Conflicts of Interest: Revised Statutory Guidance for CCGs 2017), clear guidelines are provided to CCGs regarding Gifts and Hospitality, and in particular the management of sponsored events.

In this guidance NHS England state that the sponsorship of NHS events by external parties is valued, and they highlight that there are benefits to both NHS staff and patients when these external parties offer to fund some of the running costs of an event. According to NHS England without such funding, the NHS may be unable to provide as many opportunities for learning, development and partnership working. However, the NHS England guidance also stipulates a number of principles that must be adhered to regarding sponsorship.

The CCG’s Standards of Business Conduct Policy was last approved by the Governing Body in July 2017 to ensure it is compliant with the latest NHS England guidance, and details how Conflicts of Interest, Gifts, Hospitality and Sponsorship are managed by Medway CCG. With regards to Sponsorship, the Standards of Business Conduct Policy states:

Sponsorship includes financial support and hospitality for educational meetings, training, attendance at conferences, and publications etc. Sponsorship by commercial companies, including the pharmaceutical sector, is a common practice and reduces NHS expenditure.

It should be made clear to the sponsor that their sponsorship of an event or the availability of publicity material about the company or product will not constitute an endorsement by the CCG or be dependent on the purchase of the supply of goods or services. This will be made clear to the public and those attending the event.

The policy then details how to get authorisation for the sponsorship of CCG events and the standards that must be followed to ensure that all sponsorship meets relevant ethical and business standards.