Health membership association picks BBC veteran to lead comms

NHS Providers has appointed seasoned former BBC health correspondent Adam Brimelow as its new director of communications.

Adam Brimelow brings his skills as a former BBC health correspondent to his new role as director of communications
Adam Brimelow brings his skills as a former BBC health correspondent to his new role as director of communications

Brimelow leads a team of eight people, across media, social media, digital and publishing, as well as marketing and brand management, at the membership and trade organisation for NHS hospitals, mental-health and ambulance services.

His job places him within the senior management team, as well as on the executive board of the organisation.

The importance of comms

Commenting on the importance of comms at NHS Providers, Brimelow said: "I see communications as having a key role in helping to influence the environment in which our members operate, articulate their concerns, highlight their successes and promote and share good practice to improve care for NHS patients."

He added: "We are a relatively small organisation, but this job offers a great opportunity to deal with big strategic communications challenges at a key moment in the history of the NHS."

Brimelow worked for the BBC as an award-winning health correspondent for 14 years, broadcasting news and commentary on health policy and medical research, as well as on "unravelling the complexities of NHS… performance".

He joined NHS Providers two years ago as its head of news, and had been deputy director of comms for a year before being offered his current role.

Digital first

Brimelow, who replaces Daniel Reynolds as director of comms, said the organisation was keenly aware of the importance of digital channels, including social media, in its comms strategy and was increasingly taking a 'digital first' approach to publishing its reports and briefings, as well as upgrading its website.

He claimed that one of the advantages of the organisation was its ability to take the pulse of its members on a range of issues across the NHS, using a variety of means including its annual conference.

The conference, held over two days this week in Manchester, was at the top of his inbox, Brimelow said, as he and the comms team made final preparations to launch two major reports, as well as arranging speakers for the event.

Future comms goals

In the medium-term, Brimelow said there was a comms tightrope to be walked between the funding the NHS receives and what the service is expected to deliver.

He said: "A key concern at the moment is the development of a long-term plan for the NHS. We’re keen to ensure the NHS is able to make the most of the long term funding settlement announced in the summer by the prime minister. But at the same time, it’s important that the demands placed on trusts are realistic. And, of course, we are keeping a close eye on winter pressures as the NHS heads into the most challenging period of the year."

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