CIPR criticises TaxPayers’ Alliance for ignoring the role of public relations in delivering life changing and lifesaving work

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has spoken out in defence of NHS investment in public relations and communications staff, branded “unnecessary” and “wasteful” by the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

In a report published yesterday, the Alliance claimed that in 2013, £34m was invested in 826 public relations staff across the health service. This equates to 0.03% in proportion to the £95.6bn budget set aside for the NHS in England alone over the same period.

Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President Elect
Publicly funded authorities, including the NHS, have a responsibility to engage the public and to tackle health care issues – this cannot be effectively achieved without professional public relations support.

The reintroduction of the modern matron more than 10 years ago was a very clear sign that nurses and doctors needed to spend more time with patients and less time dealing with administrative tasks and other areas where they can call on professional support.

The day-to-day management of media enquiries, Freedom of Information requests and facilitating open and transparent communications with the public supports the vital role of the NHS.

Blood and organ donor drives, flu vaccinations, stop smoking campaigns and many other examples of NHS public relations activity both promote and support the successful tackling of public health issues. This is not ‘spin’ – this is life changing and lifesaving work, which actively reduces the burden of healthcare on the public purse.

Managing the reputation of the NHS to build trust in healthcare services such as cancer care and paediatrics should be led by public relations professionals with the full support and involvement of clinical teams, but their priority has got to be the delivery of care to patients.
Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President Elect
Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.