Sheffield trust in retender

Sheffield Children's NHS Trust is reviewing its PR as it contemplates potential staff cuts and ward closures.

Its eight-year incumbent agency, Sheffield-based HR Media, is retendering for the contract, which is reviewed on an annual basis.

The trust - one of four in the UK to provide care exclusively to children and young people - won foundation status this month, and has consequently expanded its PR brief. It now includes a remit to communicate with trust members, of which there are 6,000.

When a trust gains foundation status, it acquires a group of local members who are responsible for electing the management board.

Other remits in the brief include internal and external comms and stakeholder relations. Its stakeholders are the local council, primary care trusts, dentists, community groups and GPs.

The trust is currently grappling with the NHS's national deficit, and must find £3m in savings every year for the next two years.

‘It is dealing with proposals for a ward closure and there is inevitable unrest among staff regarding potential job losses, but the trust is hoping to get through it without cutting staff,' said HR Media account director Charlotte Taylor. All NHS trusts must reduce spending by 2.5 per cent over the next two years.

Taylor reports directly to the trust's chief executive, Chris Sharratt. Fees are undisclosed.

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