London SHA told of comms battle

London's combined Strategic Health Authority (SHA) will suffer from the perception that it is too big and unresponsive to local needs, according to a report by the London Communications Agency.

Its research, ahead of the imminent merger of the capital’s five SHAs, shows that tackling pan-London issues in a way that is sensitive to local needs will be a comms battle.

Independent consultant Lucy Gradillas told PRWeek: ‘Challenges for the new combined SHA will be to show strong leadership, while listening and consulting effectively with people at a local level.’

She added that communications will play an important role in how health is delivered in the capital in the future, because of the strong relationships needed between the single SHA, emergency services and local authorities. 

By the end of this year, the SHAs of north-west, north-east, north-central, south-east and south-west London will become a single authority.

The Department of Health handled a public consultation exercise on the merger from last December to April.

However, it was widely felt that this exercise was an ‘empty gesture’ and a ‘rubber-stamping exercise’, according to the report.

The audit collected the opinions of 17 senior managers at emergency and other public authorities, trade unions, and media and health groups in the capital.

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