Healthcare: Mandate makes key comms director hire

Mandate Communications has appointed a former head of comms at NHS Choices as a director.

Guy Lavis will take a senior role in the agency's health practice as it looks to step up its focus on NHS commissioning processes and engage more closely with GPs.

Lavis joins from Capita, which partnered the Department of Health to produce NHS Choices, the department's flagship website for patient choice. The site offers the public medical advice, healthcare news and a guide to local healthcare providers.

The new focus has been prompted by the Government's plans to overhaul the NHS, putting GPs in charge of local budgets and commissioning. The plans mean GPs working in groups will be in charge of a vast collection of hospital, mental health and community services.

Mandate's health MD Mike Birtwistle said Lavis' appointment would help the agency to stay on top of the changes: 'Guy's strength in engaging with GPs will be particularly important as GP consortia assume responsibility for the commissioning of NHS services in the new world.

'It's no longer enough to change national opinions and behaviours, you need to approach the hearts and minds of those controlling local budgets.'

Lavis' responsibilities include providing strategic advice to clients and assisting with the agency's training programme.

His appointment follows a number of wins for the agency's health division including the Royal College of Surgeons, psychiatric and neurological drugs firm Lundbeck, the Cancer Campaigning Group and the Blood Cancers Alliance.

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