Changes from the Health & Social Care Act have brought about the most wide-ranging reforms of the NHS since its creation in 1948, impacting how organisations communicate and engage.
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are the cornerstone of the health system as the majority of health services, including emergency care, elective hospital care, maternity services, and community, mental health services and pharmaceuticals are essential to the delivery of health and social care.
Pharmaceutical companies are at the forefront of research and development. It is therefore essential for transparent dialogue between companies, policy makers and the NHS when the sector is ever evolving.
Ensuring that patients are able to access the most appropriate, clinically and cost-effective medicines as well as best available care is key to this ever changing health landscape and this will be reliant on constructive and transparent dialogue between key stakeholders in the industry.
Recruiting in professionals with the ability and authority to navigate around these structures is essential.
So how does this affect interim communications jobs in the sector?
Here at Ellwood Atfield, over the last 2 years, we have built and developed a Health and Social Care team to adapt and supply communications professionals required for Royal Colleges, Thinks Tanks, Trusts (providers), Regulators, Charities, Trade Bodies, Corporate Pharmas, Private Providers and Commissioning. While each group have their own unique requirement to help achieve their corporate objectives, one trend that is consistent is their need to effectively communicate across all channels be it internally or externally.
We have successfully worked with our clients to recruit long term substantive appointments, through to short/medium interim appointments to address these issues. Interim professionals can be recruited at short notice to help with maternity cover, ‘plug a gap’ whilst a business is in transition, through to specific strategic project work. An objective approach and insight can sometimes be what is required.
After speaking with various communications directors from within the sector, the Ellwood Atfield Health and Social Care team have identified where interim professionals will be required throughout 2016 and beyond.
Policy, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement
The health policy landscape is forever changing. Future legislation could impact either positively or negatively. With so many diverse stakeholders in the sector, it is essential that they are engaged effectively. The people you have speaking for your organisation across Westminster and Whitehall must have the right insight, influence and network.
Interim Policy, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement professionals are brought in to organisations to gain a quick good understanding of the corporate objectives as part of the wider communications strategy; from responding to consultations, drafting reports, through to strategic engagement, influencing and lobbying will ensure organisations are continuously able to adapt.
Media Relations and Corporate PR
Whatever your organisation – your reputation and how you are perceived externally is key! Engagement with local, regional, national and trade press is essential for maintaining a positive brand and the trust of your stakeholders.
From crisis and reputation management, advising the chief exec and the c-suite, through to proactive brand awareness and campaigns; interim Media and Corporate PR professionals can protect and promote a brand to achieve quick and immediate positive outcomes without, where appropriate, the need for PR agencies.
As an organisation changes and adapts, so must its employees. Recognising that how a brand is perceived internally by its staff is just as important as how it is externally by its stakeholders – the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Change and transformation brought about by adapting can generate fear and uncertainty amongst employees, leading to poor morale and missed objectives.
Interim Internal Communications professionals can advise everything from ‘business-as-usual’ comms through to HR and organisational transformation, redundancy, new technology roll-outs, m&a, TUPE and site closures. Whatever the need, an Interim Internal Communications professional will achieve in helping senior managers engage their staff more effectively, resulting in improved understanding of how changes will affect roles and staff perception.
With the surprise result of the EU Referendum, increases to the CDF and the continuing discussion of how the government will deliver healthcare for all, interim communications jobs will continue to be needed and will be vital to the success of the sector.
If you are a professional interim, a candidate exploring interim as their next career move, or a client looking to find how an interim professional could benefit your team or organisation, please do not hesitate to contact David Milligan on 020 7340 6491 or 07435 970 531 for a confidential discussion.
Written by David Milligan, Senior Consultant
David specialises in recruiting professional interims in communications and public affairs within health and social care. He has helped global corporate pharmaceuticals to leading health charities, regulators, trade and membership bodies and NHS providers.