PUBLIC SECT0R: CancerBacup sets up first marketing/comms team

NHS reform has prompted CancerBacup - the charity that provides information and support to cancer sufferers and their families - to beef up its PR.

It has scrapped its publications team, replacing it with a marketing and comms department for the first time.

This is headed by Mark Winkless, appointed to the newly created role of head of marketing and comms.

The department has been created to help the charity in its role as one of the main information-providers on cancer issues within the NHS.

The NHS revamps next month to create 28 strategic health authorities, which will all have 'cancer networks' of regional oncology specialists.

Winkless said: 'Our task is to develop relationships with those evolving cancer networks within the NHS. We want partnerships with the NHS both on and offline that would enable patient and health professionals to get up-to-date quality information about cancer.

'In order to do this we will be developing a package of information resources that can be localised for these networks and setting up regional seminars to formalise those relationships,' he added.

Winkless will also be in charge of reviewing the charity's corporate identity and revamping the website, which comprises 3,000 pages of cancer information. He said: 'At the moment it is a bit of a challenge to find the information you need on the website.'

Winkless will lead a team of eight comprising publications, website development and media relations staff.

The department also has an advocacy role, putting forward the view of patients about the information available.

Winkless joins from Merton, Sutton & Wandsworth Health Authority where he was head of comms. Peter Chambers, the former head of publications, is now a freelance.

CancerBacup offers a free helpline for those affected by cancer and publishes 57 booklets on the disease.

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