DoH comms director set for hiatus

Department of Health comms supremo Sian Jarvis is to take maternity leave next year, putting one of the biggest jobs in government communications temporarily up for grabs.

Jarvis's office confirmed the news to PRWeek but said that arrangements for cover had yet to be finalised.

The DoH will be left without its director of comms amid a period of wide ranging controversial reform.

This includes the final roll-out of Foundation Trust status, which all hospitals must achieve by 2008, a set of mergers among England's 303 Primary Care Trusts and the amalgamation of 28 health authorities.

Despite enormous increases in investment in the NHS, estimated to total £91bn next year, NHS staff shortfalls and service problems continue to make the headlines.

The DoH is also grappling with the thorny issues of binge drinking, teen pregnancy and obesity.

Last year, Jarvis unveiled a strategy that borrows from the commercial sector in a bid to make healthy lifestyle choices 'sexy'.

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