News: Linking rise of NHS communications to waiting lists is “disingenuous”, says CIPR

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AN attempt to link the rise of NHS communications teams with NHS waiting lists is “disingenuous” according to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). The Institute was responding to a study by the TaxPayers’ Alliance that found £57 million was spent by NHS organizations last year on communications.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance linked NHS waiting lists to an investment in its communications function, arguing that “[h]ealth bosses must ensure that staffing budgets are focused on the front line”.

CIPR CEO, Alastair McCapra said, “NHS communicators play a vital role in supporting frontline services and have a statutory responsibility to communicate with patients, the public, NHS staff, and the media on preventative and often lifesaving matters. Far from being ‘spin’, this role allows nurses and doctors to focus on their jobs and reduces the burden of healthcare on taxpayers.

It is disingenuous to suggest waiting lists are in any way linked to an investment in vital communications services across the NHS. At a time when public sector funding is in the spotlight, and two years on from the height of the pandemic, it is crucial our policy decision makers recognize the value that public sector communications can offer. Last week, we celebrated our regional PRide Awards and I would suggest they start by taking a look at some of the incredible award-winning entries to see the difference PR can make to local health services.”