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Interim communications jobs – the NHS and health sector

With the ongoing period of reorganisation in the public sector, the NHS’s increased focus on the quality of patient care and wellbeing will be at the heart of the changes to the health sector next year.
So, how does this affect interim communications jobs? At Michael Page Marketing, over the last 12 months we have seen a sharp increase in the number of interim communications professionals required for trusts, CCGs and health regulators. While there are definite trends emerging in certain areas such as change communications and stakeholder engagement, we have seen interim requirements across all channels, including press, digital, publications and corporate communications. As the NHS reaches out to such diverse groups, trusts must ensure they use a variety of communications methods as a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not be effective. The ability to communicate with staff, the public, patients, users and suppliers is vital to the success of the NHS. 
After speaking with various communications directors from within the NHS and health sector, we’ve picked up on some key areas where interim professionals will be more heavily required next year:
  • Internal communications

It is apparent that employees want more face-to-face communication with their line managers and a better understanding of how changes will affect their roles in the future. Trusts are taking on interims to advise senior managers on how to engage their staff more effectively and implementing tools to provide more frequent updates on the changes around them from clinicians and nurses to administration staff. Creating a system for feedback and evaluation is also key to enable engagement to continue throughout the transformation.
  • External stakeholder engagement

With so many diverse stakeholders for NHS trusts, CCGs and health regulators, it is essential that they are engaged with the changes that are being implemented within these organisations. Acting in a transparent and inclusive way, stakeholder engagement professionals are brought in to map out and analyse key stakeholders, gain a good understanding of their objectives and to feed this into the wider communications strategy to ensure organisations are continuously improving their services.
  • Media and press

An organisation’s reputation is key in order to maintain all stakeholders’ trust within an organisation. Interim media professionals continue to be in demand for dealing with any media attention that may arise unexpectedly from any contentious issues or proactively promoting an organisation’s positive news stories (not just reacting to the negative ones!).
  • Digital

Organisations should utilise their digital channels to effectively engage with all theirstakeholders. The website is usually the first port of call for patients and the public and online news bulletins and the intranet are important tools to keep staff updated regularly. We have seen interim digital professionals being brought in to set up and monitor Facebook and Twitter pages or to refresh the website and look at the user journey and experience. To compete with other organisations in the sector, keeping up to date with all digital communication channels is an invaluable asset.
Interim communications jobs will continue to appear over the next 2-3 years as there are more and more skills gaps within the health sector and project work across change programmes will require external resources being brought in to maximise the success of these transformations.
If you would like any further insight into interim communications recruitment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Claire Wiblin.
T: 020 7269 6226