CIPR Health Group discusses impact on NHS comms under The Conservative Party

The CIPR Health and Medical Group hosted an evening with shadow health minister Mark Simmonds to discuss communicating with patients under a new Government.

CIPR Health chair: Justin Wilkes
CIPR Health chair: Justin Wilkes

The event, held last week, also included NHS comms director Stephen Gladwin and external affairs director of The Alzheimer's Society Andrew Ketteringham.

At the event, Simmonds announced that the Conservatives would produce a communications manifesto for the NHS. He also asserted that the NHS Information Centre would be central to the NHS under the Tories.

He also said he believed that health communications needs to be more personalised, especially if it is to be in touch with hard-to-reach and the non-digitalised groups.

Meanwhile, Gladwin told the audience there was concern that communications could be cut whichever party is in control of the NHS due to budget constraints.

He added that the NHS needs to be ‘more clever' at using the resources it has and in an environment of budget restraints should look to joint working initiatives with patient organisations and the pharmaceutical industry in order to improve its communications.

Ketteringham also spoke at the event and said the financial cost to the NHS of a growing elderly population is a key issue and investment in research to improve care and management of an older population is essential in order to cut costs in the long-term.

He believed that more targeted communications is essential to improve patient outcomes and patient organisations can assist governments in targeted comms campaigns.

CIPR Health and Medical Group chair Justin Wilkes said: ‘This was a fascinating discussion where more effective communications was seen by all parties as the solution to improving patient outcomes. While communications roles are certainly under pressure in the current climate it appears that policy makers and strategists see a real need to put communications at the forefront of a modern healthcare system.'


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