PUBLIC SECT0R: Hallett to boost comms for UK Transplant

The first director of communications and PR at UK Transplant has

revealed new measures to reverse an escalating shortfall in donors.



Penny Hallett - who joined the transplant sector regulator last month -

says surgeons and other NHS staff involved in the field will now receive

media training, to help attract more donor card holders.



She is also now setting up UK Transplant's first press office and is

looking to recruit two press officers and an internet officer.



Further staff will be recruited next year in the lead up to UK

Transplant's taking over of donor campaigns in 2003, from the Department

of Health.



The number of available organs has fallen in recent years, partly

because seatbelts mean fewer fatal traffic accidents.



Latest UK Transplant figures show 5,667 people are still awaiting organs

in the UK and Ireland. So far this year 1,929 people have received

transplants.



There are currently two public awareness campaigns run by the DoH and

the Central Office of Information. One general, the other aimed

specifically at the Asian community.



A campaign targeting Afro-Caribbeans will launch early next year.



UK Transplant was created in July 2000 after the UK Transplant Support

Services Authority was controversially disbanded. A government review

said not enough was being done to increase donor numbers and recommended

a total rebrand.



Hallett, who reports to CEO Sue Sutherland, said 'corporate identity

issues' were an important part of her remit.



Hallett joined from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, where she was head

of communications.



Latest DoH figures show that just nine million people are donor card

carriers. Health secretary Alan Milburn has pledged to increase this

figure to 16 million by 2010.



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