60-second interview with Gareth Farrell20th March 2013
Gareth Farrell, General Sales and Marketing Manager, 3M Critical and Chronic Care Solutions Division, 3M Health Care Limited
Q. When did you first become interested in wound care?
A. When my dad suffered a skin tear and the wound went unhealed for 11 weeks. It’s often your nearest and dearest that bring the challenge and the effects of dealing with a wound into your field of view.
Q. Who has impressed you most since working in this field — your wound care hero?
A. Numerous people. The work Ellie Lindsay does is superb in raising the profile and plight of patients living with leg ulcers. People who strive, such as Caroline Dowsett who has focused on the need to provide excellent care through the any qualified provider (AQP) process in Newham, grappling successfully with the new commissioning environment and always focusing on great patient care. Jacqui Fletcher would be another example with her work and that of the tissue viability nurse and nurse teams who focus on pressure ulcer prevention, and the whole stopthepressure initiatives out of NHS Midlands and East. I’m afraid I can’t narrow it down, there are lots of wound care heroes out there!
Q. If you could change one thing in the wound care industry, what would it be?
A. More collaboration. We spend a lot of time selling against one another (understandable given the competitive environment in which we operate), but partnership initiatives and shared efforts are going to be important in the future as we try to support the health service in managing the human and economic cost of wounds. That is why it is great to see initiatives such as the Health Technology Cooperative launched in Leeds last week under the clinical directorship of Professor Vowden, which effectively brings together the minds of industry, academia, clinicians and patients to focus collaboratively on the wound care challenge.
Q. Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
A. Am I allowed to say this — on a yacht sailing round the Whitsunday Islands in Australia with my family!
Q. What annoys you most in wound care?
A. Pace. My previous life was in a commercial fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) environment, where innovation and product adoption came through on relatively quick cycles. Given the regulatory environment in which we operate, it is difficult to drive pace into delivering products and technologies to market and then drive adoption. I wouldn’t say that it annoys me, but more that it frustrates me.
Q. Do you feel that industry and clinicians should work together more and, if so, how?
A. Yes, I do. I think some clinicians and some of the broader stakeholder groups in the NHS today view industry quite warily. The reality is that common practices in industry can really help clinicians in the highly fluid environment in which they operate, particularly those that are far away from the medical devices that industry supply, such as leadership, planning and business case development. Effective change management is an aspect that industry can provide perspective on to support the challenges faced by the NHS. Clinicians can also help industry understand the pain points that they and their patients/carers experience, and so enable us to provide the patient-focused innovation that supports better care for tomorrow. How do we achieve this? Dual working, patient consent to open clinic sessions, industry-wide skills study days… take your pick.
Q. What advice would you give a young rep starting out in this industry?
A. Spend time listening to patients and concentrate on supporting clinicians in the quest for quality care. When you spend time in the field, above all listen and observe patients and clinicians. This will help you learn and find your opportunities to support the provision of great patient care — if you focus on that goal, success will follow!