Ex-Brown aide Milner to take NHS Yorkshire post

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber has recruited a former Gordon Brown aide to its top comms role.

As broken here on PRWeek.com on 2 January, Karl Milner – a well-known lobbyist ­– is to join the NHS Strategic Health Authority as director of comms and PR.

He is currently a partner at financial, regulatory and political comms consultancy Finsbury in London, and
is poised to start his new role on 1 February.

Milner joined WPP-owned Finsbury in July 2000. Before Finsbury he worked for lobby shop GJW, and prior to that worked for the current Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1993 to 1997. He previously worked as a Labour Party organiser and assistant to other Lab­­our MPs.

During his time at GJW, Milner was one of various lobbyists – including Derek Draper – censured for breaching the PA industry’s code of conduct in the 1998 ‘cash-for-government-access’ affair.

In his new role Milner will lead a department of five full-time staff that includes head of comms and marketing Jane Westmoreland. He reports to CEO Margaret Edwards.

He joins NHS Yorks and the Humber ­ –  one of ten Strategic Health Authorities est­ablished by the Government in 2006 to manage local NHS services – as job cuts loom within its 102,000-strong workforce.

The areas covered by NHS Yorks and the Humber are South Yorks, West Yorks, North Yorks, Humberside and Northern Lincolnshire. Calderdale & Huddersfield, Hull & East Yorks, Leeds Teaching and Mid Yorkshire were named in November by the Department of Health as the four NHS trusts in the region most at risk of cutbacks.

Milner said: ‘I’m looking forward to playing my part in creating a world-class comms operation for the region.’

Born in Sheffield and raised in Wakefield, Milner became a part-time senior lecturer at Leeds Business School in 2005. He will relinquish this role, but may continue to do visiting lectures.

At Finsbury, Milner has recently worked for clients including Reed Elsevier, Bradford & Bingley and Punch Taverns. He is to remain a non-executive  dir­­ec­tor at the agency.

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