NHS Confederation in stakeholder drive

The NHS Confederation – the umbrella body that represents NHS hospital trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities – is creating a commercial relations team as it steps up its effort to communicate with businesses and charities.

The confederation’s new seven-strong team will be led by head of commercial relations Graham Kendall, and play a key role in organising events and creating channels for strategic comms between industry and healthcare bodies, NHS managers and key public affairs audiences.

‘I anticipate significant growth over the next few months because we will be taking on a number of additional events and have big plans to increase our activity,’ said Kendall. ‘There is incredible demand for a particular type of event to explain what is happening in the health service and how it impacts on business.’

The team will help manage the confederation’s annual conference and over ten themed conferences this year, plus numerous regional events. In a bid to develop more communication channels in the industry, the team will use direct mail in the form of over 50 publications a year, to target NHS board-level players as well as senior staff at commercial and voluntary organisations.

The confederation’s commercial associate scheme is open to all organisations engaged with the NHS and has grown 65 per cent since last year. The new team will aim to maintain similar growth throughout 2004 as well as increasing membership of the confederation’s affiliate scheme, which invites the private and voluntary sector to help influence policy.

The confederation decided in January to throw its affiliate scheme open to the private and voluntary sectors to reflect their growing roles in healthcare provision.

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