Telegraph medical ed Celia Hall quits for Santé position

Daily Telegraph medical editor Celia Hall has quit after almost 12 years with the broadsheet to take a healthcare PR job.

Hall is to join health specialist agency Santé Communications as director of media strategy – in a newly created role.

The move is a coup for Santé, with Hall the highest-profile health journalist in many years to quit journalism for PR.

Hall resigned to Telegraph editor Will Lewis last Wed­nesday, and expects to continue working for the paper until April, when she is likely to move straight across to Santé.

Hall said: ‘After many years in newsrooms it will be both a change and a new challenge, but one I am hugely looking forward to. I can’t wait to get started.’

Santé MD Liz Shanahan said: ‘Celia’s reputation and experience speaks for itself.

I have known her for a num­ber of years – across the PR industry I think that everyone has genuine respect for her.’

Santé, which is based in London’s Covent Garden, has 20 staff and represents several big-name clients including Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfi­zer, Baxter BioScience and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. It also works with the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research.

Hall’s impending move to PR is likely to surprise many who know her in both industries.

Hall would not reveal whether she had held any discussions with any other agencies about a possible move, but revealed: ‘I have been thinking of making the change and moving into PR or consultancy for many months now.’

The path from healthcare journalist on a ‘national’ to health PR agency is not a well-trodden one. But Chris Mihill, the former Guardian medical correspondent who now runs health agency Clew Communications, is one journalist to have successfully made the transition.

Hall joined the Telegraph in 1995 – the same year Santé was founded by Shanahan. She won the British Medical Association’s Medical Journalist of the year award in 1995 and 2005. She began medical rep­orting on The Birmingham Post before moving to London as a founder journalist of The London Daily News.

Other senior Santé staff include deputy MD Tracy Barrett.

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