Speaking of jobs more likely to raise the blood pressure than the
quality of life, it was reported this week that the Department of Health
has stepped up its hunt for a successor to Helen McCallum as
Beyond the cheerful headlines - 'Wanted: £100,000 NHS spin doctor'
- lies a serious issue of how to communicate in one of the public
sector's most challenging PR roles. The Blair government has made it
clear it wishes to be judged by delivery in its second term of office.
Communications can play a key part in that, not only in managing high
expectations among the general public, but in staff recruitment and
retention and in supporting the increase in private sector involvement
in health service improvement.
How many of us were aware that the first days of July were NHS Week?
A press search for that period turned up the barest of mentions in the
national print. If more is to be made of the event next year - and more
generally, if the NHS is to raise its comms game in the wake of
McCallum's move - a major hire is needed. With an Alastair
Campbell-beating salary on offer, higher blood pressure may be a price