NHS England and Improvement picks new comms chief

James Lyons has been appointed as the new director of comms for NHS England and Improvement (NHS E&I).

James Lyons praised the team spirit of colleagues across the NHS
James Lyons praised the team spirit of colleagues across the NHS

Lyons will begin his new job from the middle of next month and will lead NHS E&I’s national comms team and its ‘programme teams’, as well as working closely with seven regional comms teams.

He succeeds Simon Enright, who will take up a new role as comms secretary to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in May.

Lyons told PRWeek the NHS had emerged from the greatest challenge in the service’s history with its reputation not just intact, but strengthened.

He added: “That is not just down to the skill, compassion and determination of frontline NHS staff but also all those in communications who have helped to show how they have cared for around 400,000 seriously ill Covid patients requiring hospital treatment and many more besides.

“Communications has been a vital component in the NHS’s remarkable response to the Covid, including one of the fastest and most precise vaccines in the world.”

Lyons praised the team spirit and cooperation he said he had witnessed across the NHS during the pandemic and urged colleagues to maintain this attitude and to support staff during the vaccine delivery programme.

“I am very excited to be working with so many talented colleagues at NHSE/I, the wider health service and the care sector in my new role,” Lyons said.

Career path

Lyons began his career as a journalist on The Journal, in Newcastle, and went on to be a lobby journalist for PA and then Westminster correspondent for the Daily Record.

He was later deputy political editor for The Mirror newspaper for seven years and had the same job for the Sunday Times.

Lyons left journalism to join NHS England as head of media and public affairs four years ago and became NHS E&I’s deputy director of comms in December 2019.

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