How Sassoon is now?

by Admin 11. May 2012 10:22

 Maxine Vaccine pays tribute to the genius of Vidal Sassoon and gives five reasons why the legendary hairdresser is a role model for medical sales professionals.

In my late teens I worked in a Midlands hairdressing salon. Difficult customers, bitchy colleagues, hours of random chatter – it was ideal training for a career in pharmaceutical sales. Some of us were girls, some of us just acted like we were. But we all had one hero in common. And that hero passed away this week, aged 84.

Vidal Sassoon took the mundane service industry of hairdressing and made it an art, a business and a dream. His talent, energy and sheer chutzpah make him an inspiration for anyone whose work involves contributing to the well-being of the human body.

So in tribute to Sassoon’s revolutionary five-point haircut, here is a five-point guide to true style in medical sales...

1. Start in reality. At the age of 17, Vidal Sassoon joined the 43 Group, an association of Jewish ex-soldiers dedicated to fighting fascism on the streets of East London. They took on Mosley’s Blackshirts and beat them. That toughness and refusal to be the underdog stayed with Sassoon throughout his life.

2. Keep it simple. Sassoon’s trademark hairdressing style avoided elaborate treatments. He wanted to work with the natural shape and life of human hair. The iconic ‘five-point’, inspired by Bauhaus architecture, was a clipped androgynous look whose simplicity disguised its mathematical precision.

3. Care begins at home. Like a present-day GP, Sassoon thought primarily in terms of the self-care model. No more beehives that took an hour to reconstruct each morning. His cuts were low-maintenance and robust, designed for women who had lives to lead.

4. The right words. Sassoon launched his classic range of hair products with the slogan ‘If you don’t look good, we don’t look good’ – a neat play on words that linked the worlds of fashion and business. Even in his eighties, Sassoon’s language was as sharp and elegant as his haircuts.

5. Fit for purpose. Throughout his career, Sassoon remained lean, fit and immaculately dressed. Where many of his contemporaries drank like fishes, he swam like one. His salon performances were balletic displays of controlled energy, expressing his attitude towards human health.

Maxine’s views are not necessarily those of Pharmaceutical Field.

Get the message

by Admin 24. February 2012 12:45

 The Department of Health ‘Maps and Apps’ web page lists over 500 existing or potential health apps voted on by visitors to the site. Maxine Vaccine looks at the possibilities opened up by this new medium for health communications.

Like William Hague’s baseball cap, the new Maps and Apps section of the DH website appears desperate to show how street the Government is. Its subtitle Wouldn’t it be great if... is meant to suggest the limitless vistas opened up by new technology. But the words may well have a hollow ring for a medical profession still unable to believe that Lansley’s ‘Listening Exercise’ consisted of him jamming his fingers in his ears and chanting La la la, I can’t hear you! Wouldn’t it be great if... clinicians had a voice in forming the policy whose stated intention is to give them a voice?

But maybe it takes a powerful tool to know a powerful tool.

The new health apps initiative is a crucial opportunity for pharma companies to reach prescribers and patients with materials that promote health awareness – from the management of long-term conditions to the identification and resolution of acute problems. As their name suggests, apps are tools that have immediate impact on the user’s situation. For example, the new Diabetes App will enable patients to record their ongoing blood glucose test results and communicate them to a clinician who can advise them on medication and lifestyle adjustments.

A good app is not just a booklet in iPhone format. It’s a focused device for dealing with real problems in real time. And the demanding world of long-term condition management needs that kind of sharpened information like a body needs oxygen. Patients on multiple medications need to stay on top of the health management process, tracking disease symptoms, side-effects and signs of improvement, interacting successfully with health professionals to optimise their self-care and drug treatment. They need information resources that combine clinical background knowledge with practical guidance. The app can help to mediate the patient’s relationship with the health service.

Pharma companies need to take account of the health apps phenomenon in their picture of how patients and clinicians interact and prescribing decisions are made. In addition, they can raise their profile and initiate customer dialogue by contributing their own items to the new culture of health apps. Does that culture have a name? If not, we might call it the Appetite.

Maxine’s views are not necessarily those of Pharmaceutical Field.

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Bioscience expert named as Chair of NHS Commissioning Board

by Emma 17. October 2011 14:50


Professor Malcolm Grant (pictured), an authority on genetic technology, has been named by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley as his choice of Chair for the new NHS Commissioning Board.

The national board, which has been called the biggest quango in British history, will commission primary medical care and specialist health areas, as well as controlling the allocation of NHS resources.

Professor Grant, currently Provost of University College London, will be interviewed by the Health Select Committee before his appointment but is expected to take up the post at the end of October.

A qualified barrister and lawyer, Professor Grant has worked in the Local Government Commission and been a UK Business Ambassador. He is a recognised authority on the regulation of biotechnology.

Malcolm Grant commented: “We need to build on the very best NHS qualities of dedicated public service, professionalism and pride, and seize the opportunity to create long-term stability and focus on getting constant improvement in quality and openness to innovation.”

Grant’s commitment to new healthcare technology is reflected in his recent statement: “We know that there will be a revolution in the next few years as we try to ensure that improvements in diagnostics and pharmacogenetics and self-care and self-treatment are brought home to patients, giving them the capacity to control their own medication and their own choices.”

The NHS Commissioning Board will provide strategic leadership for NHS commissioning. It will directly commission primary medical care and some specialised healthcare; support and regulate the Clinical Commissioning Groups; allocate NHS resources; and promote patient choice and information.

Andrew Lansley said: “Professor Grant has distinction and authority, is outstandingly capable and has excellent leadership skills, demonstrated by his success at UCL. He has a strong track record of delivery in complex public sector organisations, and shares the public sector ethos and values of the NHS.”


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