MHP Health Mandate appoints RCS director Alison Cook

MHP Health Mandate has hired the Royal College of Surgeons' most senior health communicator to broaden its understanding of medical politics.

Openness: Cook helped introduce performance data for surgeons
Openness: Cook helped introduce performance data for surgeons

Alison Cook, currently the organisation’s director of external affairs, will join the health policy specialist in September for an as-yet-unspecified director role.

Cook is the RCS’ first ever director of external affairs. She created a three-pronged department by adding a policy team and expanding the internal public affairs and comms offerings.

She said the combination of policy and comms at MHP led to ‘a depth of understanding about what is going on in the world, which means you can do brilliant comms work’.

During her six-year tenure at the RCS she played a key role in the introduction of the first ever ‘open source’ databases for cardiac surgeons, enabling patients to see statistics relating to the performance of specific clinicians.

Cook said: ‘My role was to show [the cardiologists] how the data could be interpreted and to make sure they were comfortable with what they were putting out.’

She also has experience and contacts in the NHS in Europe after working on campaigns around issues such as the working time directive.

Cook began her career as a journalist, working for BBC Radio’s File on 4. Before this she worked as director of policy and comms and head of broadcast strategy for the Department of Health for two years.

MHP Health Mandate MD Mike Birtwistle said she had ‘brought professionals with her... on something that is threatening to some doctors but is critical in bringing in the best outcomes for patients’.

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