High-profile doctor slated for attack on NHS comms managers

PR professionals and senior healthcare figures have criticised negative comments from a high-profile doctor about NHS communications managers. Dr Meenal Viz tweeted that "we don't need to pay someone £30k to update the hospital Twitter feed".

Dr Meenal Viz and husband Dr Nishant Joshi were named among the FA's 'Lionhearts' earlier this month (image via The FA)
Dr Meenal Viz and husband Dr Nishant Joshi were named among the FA's 'Lionhearts' earlier this month (image via The FA)

Viz - who made headlines around campaigning for better PPE (personal protective equipment) provision and was on the cover of Vogue magazine in September - made the comment in a Twitter thread about what changes hospital workers want "that would make coming to work so much better".

Comms professionals were quick to express their dismay at her comments. Antony Tiernan, director of communications and engagement at the London Ambulance Service, responded:

NHS Confederation director of comms Daniel Reynolds gave a similar response:

A number of Twitter users pointed out the important work undertaken by comms professionals in the NHS, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis:

Others who don't work in comms, including doctors themselves, also took issue with the comment from Viz, who has 12,000 Twitter followers:

Khadir Meer, chief operating officer and deputy CEO of the London Ambulance Service, added:

Viz later responded to the criticism:

Together with her husband, Dr Nishant Joshi, Viz filed for judicial review in the High Court after noticing a mismatch between the guidance on PPE from the UK government and that from the World Heath Organisation.

The couple were named among the Football Association's 'Lionhearts' - its list of everyday heroes - for their work around PPE and the coronavirus. Viz was pregnant while working 12-hour shifts for the first half of 2020.

PRWeek contacted Viz via Twitter to ask if she would like to respond to the criticism. She provided the following comment on Tuesday 5 January: "I'm most grateful to PRWeek for featuring me in this excellent and detailed article. I'm even more grateful to PRWeek for kindly offering to donate £250 to The Healthcare Workers Foundation."

This article was updated on 5 January

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