Convergence of health and public affairs as Lodestone announces health unit

Political strategy and corporate comms specialist Lodestone has announced the formation of a health unit managed by co-founder David Wild, PRWeek can reveal.

David Wild – co-founder of Lodestone, along with Martha Dalton and Fran O'Leary – will run its new health unit
David Wild – co-founder of Lodestone, along with Martha Dalton and Fran O'Leary – will run its new health unit

The agency said its Health Advisory Unit was a reflection of client wins that had strengthened its presence in the UK health sector.

Public sector wins

Lodestone said it had won pitches to represent University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

As part of its work with UHB, Wild, who is also chairman of Lodestone, sits on a committee with NHS executives, advising on its ‘improvement alliance’ with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Wild is providing the trusts with strategic comms, corporate, internal and crisis comms advice.

Convergence of health and public affairs

Lodestone announced it had also won the account of tech firm Fimatix, which has launched an independent track and trace kit for workplaces and schools to help manage exposure to COVID-19.

The company’s Shield for the Workplace system uses Bluetooth wristbands linked to a desktop control system to allow workplaces to detect and isolate anyone in the workplace who has been in contact with an infected person.

The account stems from Lodestone’s existing work, since 2016, with ‘gov-tech’ firm Agilesphere, before it merged with fintech company Fimatix earlier this year.

The agency will provide Fimatix with public affairs support, such as convening policy discussions in Parliament, alongside corporate comms.

Lodestone’s move into the health sector is the latest example of an increasing convergence between specialist healthcare communications, which operates in a highly regulated sector, and public affairs work.

The agency said other recent work in the sector encompassed a number of in-person and virtual public affairs events, including one on health tech with health secretary Matt Hancock as its guest.

It has also hosted events for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Technology and pharmacy provider McKesson.

Lodestone said it was not hiring additional staff to run the new unit at this stage, and that all the health accounts would be run by Wild.

Wild said: “We are delighted with the growth we have seen in our health practice… Lodestone has a wealth of experience operating across regulated sectors and the launch of our Health Advisory Unit will enable us to more effectively help organisations in the health sector become more resilient in what is a challenging environment for them right now.”

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