Health dept turns to Tee for winter cover

The Department of Health has chosen former DTI head of news Matt Tee to take on one of the PR industry’s most challenging jobs.

From 12 December, Tee will be covering the maternity leave of director of comms Sian Jarvis. He will command the country's largest comms team of 130 staff, at a time of great upheaval for the DoH.
Alongside Primary Care Trust mergers and the onset of Foundation Trust status for hospitals, issues surrounding greater patient choice are high on the agenda.

'It's really important that the doctors and nurses who implement these changes understand why they are doing it,' said Tee. 'The DoH is going through tremendous reform and people are only seeing the difficulties, not the benefits.'

Tee asserted that hospitals also had to improve comms because funds were determined by the number of patients treated. 'Hospitals must work to attract and keep patients,' he said. 'It's a huge comms issue.'

Although Jarvis is expected to return in around six months' time, Tee could stay for longer if her maternity leave is extended.

Tee joins from his role as director of business development at healthcare information service Dr Foster, where he hopes to return after his stint at the DoH. Dr Foster head of media and marketing Julian Tyndale-Biscoe will take over his comms duties.

Prior to Dr Foster, Tee worked as director of news at the DTI and director of comms at the Commission for Health Improvement.
Former political journalist Jarvis joined the DoH in 1999 as head of news. Her maternity leave was announced in September.

This week the DoH issued guidelines to local health chiefs suggesting terminally ill children should not be forced into hospital. The
department said palliative care should cater to sick children's needs and wishes, which include care at home.

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