Friday, 1 October 2010

Betsi's Communications Problems!

Despite having a highly paid Director of Communications and Governance in Ms Grace Lewis-Parry and a £1.2 billion budget, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board seem totally incapable of conveying any positive messages about the changes they are proposing to save £400 million over 5 years. The stories that appear daily in the Daily Post and other North Wales weeklies are full of doom and gloom about cancer wards closing and services being moved from east to west without consultation. It would appear that the Health Board are lacking a coherent communication strategy. They have now recognised this and appointed the ex Network Rail's and Arriva Train Wales's PR man Eryl Jones as a Communications Expert where his role is described in an extract of a recent report before the Board:
Mr Eryl Jones, an expert in the field of communication, recently gave a presentation to the Board of Directors on improving BCUHB’s internal and external communications. He observed that the Health Board has a number of strengths, including its dedicated staff and the fact that the organisation is changing for the better. However, he also noted weaknesses such as the fact that tackling the financial crisis sometimes results in too much change, too quickly.

The consequence of rapid change can be that there is insufficient time for up to date information to reach the right people, and this in turn risks misinformation and rumours spreading across BCUHB.

Mr Jones will be working with the Board of Directors to support them in developing better strategies for ensuring that accurate messages regarding, for example, service changes are communicated in a timely manner to staff, members of the public and other stakeholders as appropriate.

I'm sure you're like me and have a number of questions to ask about this appointment; most of all the cost of such an appointment and secondly around the future of the existing Director of Communications, Grace Lewis-Parry? Can the Board really afford another highly paid non medical bureaucrat?

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