Department of Health's director-general for comms Sian Jarvis resigns

The Department of Health's top communicator Sian Jarvis has handed in her resignation, PRWeek can reveal.

Sian Jarvis: leaves Department of Health in September
Sian Jarvis: leaves Department of Health in September

Jarvis, director-general for comms at the DH since 2004, will leave in September. She has no specific job lined up, but is understood to have received a number of offers of comms roles in the private sector.

‘Health and wellbeing has been my driving passion for a decade,’ Jarvis told PRWeek. ‘It has been an enormous privilege to have held such a challenging role, but now it’s time for me to move on to new challenges.’

Jarvis leaves as the DH undergoes a massive restructure towards the Government’s vision of a more devolved health and care system with an NHS Commissioning Board. Her role will not be replaced but a more junior ‘director of comms’ will be hired. It is unclear whether the restructure will lead to the departure of other senior comms staff.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘I would like to pay tribute to Sian’s professionalism and dedication over the past 12 years and most recently for her role in the NHS listening exercise. Sian has led the way in developing new approaches in public health communications – driving behaviour change through groundbreaking campaigns - and has built a powerful coalition of partners outside Government.’

Jarvis is a former GMTV political reporter who joined the DH in 1999 as the head of news before being promoted to director of comms in 2001 and director-general of comms in 2004.

Jarvis was made a CB in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to the Department of Health and was awarded PRWeek’s PR Professional of the Year in 2009.

During her time as the DH's director and director-general, Jarvis led various high profile comms campaigns including developing the Change4Life brand, in partnership with the private sector.

She also led last winter’s response to pandemic flu and many seasons of seasonal flu.

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