PUBLIC SECT0R: Akers takes top role at Yorkshire PCT

West Yorkshire Health Authority PR chief Anne Akers has left to take one of the most senior jobs at nearby North Kirklees Primary Care Trust.

Akers, who joined the recently created trust this week as director of patient and public involvement, will be one of five directors to have board-level powers including the commissioning of medical services.

She says that her remit also includes developing ways to increase 'systems of communications with patients'.

This is expected to include stakeholder relations, public affairs and media relations campaigns.

Akers said: 'This job gives me the opportunity to use communications in a much wider role.'

PR at the trust is handled as part of a shared communications service for the four PCTs in the Calderdale and Kirklees area.

Julie Haddon, who is set to join WYHA as communications manager, currently heads this service.

Akers said the post will be under review.

Akers has been acting head of PR for WYHA since April, following the national reorganisation of the NHS. She previously spent ten years at Wakefield Health Authority, most recently as head of communications.

Jane Westmore, who joins in October from Leeds Community Mental Health Trust, where she was head of communications, will replace Akers.

In July it was announced that patients in Kirklees were set to receive £20m in funding to improve health centres and GP surgeries as well as build new facilities.

Plans include building a new centre in Dewsbury and bringing an extra 16 GPs to the town.

Trust chairman Barry Seal claimed at the time that the funding package represented the biggest capital investment made in primary and community service by a PCT.

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