Patient commission plans its ‘biggest PR exercise’

The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement is to launch its biggest PR push to date next month with the unveiling of its newly created corporate identity.

The organisation, set up in January last year as the main body though which the public can communicate with local health officials, is to unveil its new logo and identity at an event on 11 February.

National media relations manager Kunle Thomas confirmed the launch will be the biggest PR exercise to date by the body. He said a key message was to promote the existence and role of the local Patient and Public Involvement Forums (PPIFs), set up last month, but will also be officially launched in February.

These local bodies were created along with the commission, which oversees them, as part of the NHS Reform and Healthcare Professions Act 2002. They replace Community Health Councils. CHCs had been criticised as mere talking shops that lacked real power.

Thomas said similar accusations could not be leveled at PPIFs, which have the power to demand an inspection of local health facilities. In addition, they will have control of the Independent Complaints and Advocacy Service, which manages complaints against local healthcare and was also set up as part of the same Act, in around a year’s time.

Meanwhile the commission, which is chaired by Sharon Grant, is in the final stages of building its PR operation. It recruited David Orchard as its first director of comms and knowledge management two months ago and currently has a seven-strong national media team, which is to be boosted by a further two newly created public affairs posts.

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