When it comes to patient engagement and public involvement in research, it’s time to stop talking and start doing. That was the ethos behind the Pioneering Partnerships conference, held on 13 June and hosted by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), the Association of the British Pharmaceutical industry (ABPI), and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

With an audience of 180+ the conference brought the whole sector – patients, researchers, advocacy groups, clinicians and pharma – together to discuss the challenges and share best practice. From thought-provoking presentations from keynote speaker Wendy Mitchell, who lives with early-onset dementia, and host for the day Deborah James - also known as ‘Bowel Babe’ and co-host of podcast ‘You, Me & the Big C’ - to the more intimate fireside chats enabling the audience to have their say about key issues, the day provided a wealth of opportunities to learn, network and engage with others in the sector.

At the conference ABPI launched a new guide Working with patients and patient organisations – a sourcebook for industry, which supplements their Code of Conduct, sometimes seen as a barrier to pharma engaging with the public. It’s a practical document that includes checklists and case studies and answers some FAQs on issues such as research, meetings and payments.

We will be publishing blogs throughout the next month to capture learnings from the conference. The first blog written by keynote speaker Wendy Mitchell, who was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of 58, will be published this week so watch this space.

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