Tee to depart DTI for health commission

The Government’s medical watchdog, the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) has appointed its first head of PR. He is Matt Tee who, for the past year, has been director of news at the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Government’s medical watchdog, the Commission for Health

Improvement (CHI) has appointed its first head of PR. He is Matt Tee

who, for the past year, has been director of news at the Department of

Trade and Industry.



Tee becomes the inaugural director of communications at the commission,

which was formed last November under the 1999 Health Act in an attempt

to allay fears about falling standards in the National Health

Service.



The formation of the commission was promised as part of the Government’s

pre-election manifesto to protect patients’ rights, and to tackle

high-profile health issues, such as serial-killer doctor Harold

Shipman.



Tee will report to CHI chief executive Peter Homa, who commented that

the fact that Tee’s post is a director-level position indicates that the

new body is serious about PR.



Tee will manage the current in-house team of two, and assess the need

for increasing resources. He estimated he will look for a team of eight

to ten people, including PROs and event planners, although no budget had

been confirmed.



’We aim to be an open, rigorous and fair organisation and we want that

to be evident in our communications work,’ Homa said.



Tee’s is the healthcare sector’s second high-level PR appointment in

less than a month. The General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory

body, appointed its first director of communications four weeks ago (PR

Week, 18 February).



The CHI has the power to investigate hospitals and primary care groups

in England and Wales. The independent body is tasked with improving

standards, disseminating best practice and tackling poor performance by

doctors.



It will carry out an inspection of all hospitals and general practices

every four years.



’There is a general sense that public confidence in the NHS has been

eroded,’ said Tee.



However, Homa stressed that the CHI must not be seen simply as a

’policing’ arm, saying that it will be concerned with identifying

weaknesses and providing training.



The DTI confirmed it will look for a replacement for Tee, who will leave

within the next three months. He was in charge of the 30-strong in-house

team which handles all media.



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