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
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
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
’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
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.