DH defends flu handling

The Department of Health's comms director has defended its seasonal flu campaign but a senior health journalist criticised the DH as 'negligent and slow-footed'.

The Government has faced attacks in the media over the number of recent flu deaths, the axing of a public information campaign and vaccine supplies running out.

DH director of comms Sian Jarvis also denied suggestions that the DH's comms had been affected by budget cuts. 'Our in-house operation is as robust as ever. In no way have we been limited in resources,' she said.

But The Guardian's health correspondent Denis Campbell this week criticised the DH comms effort in the wake of the flu crisis, after the department relied on a series of press briefings over Christmas and recycling last year's 'Catch it, Bin it, Kill it' hygiene advertising campaign.

Campbell told PRWeek: 'The lack of preparation was foolhardy, they have been negligent and slow-footed. I think that the media have been doing the job the Government should have been doing - by communicating with at-risk groups with news stories.'

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