Media Book Review: Health and Medical Public Relations, by Myc Riggulford

KATE CUNNINGHAM reviews Health and Medical Public Relations, by Myc Riggulford…

HEALTH and Medical Public Relations is a gem of a book. The ‘how to’ guide that will allow a patient group, a charity or a professional embarking on pastures new to create a three-dimensional campaign within their resources.

The foreword sets out a veritable smorgasbord of campaign and communication needs common to anyone who has considered entering health-related comms. The subsequent advice on tackling each is encouraging and straightforward. This book will feel like Christmas to those who have been hitherto frightened to try or have ventured into the water only to sink without a trace.

As I am often heard to say (unnecessarily often, but it’s an important point to make), health is the one area of public life which affects everyone. One might struggle to feign an interest in justice or education, local government or transport but health-related coverage and debate engages us all. In Scotland, particularly, no amount of money will keep you from the care of the NHS. The private sector simply does not offer services like obstetric, neo-natal nor high-dependency care.

As comms professionals, we face a multitude of sectoral needs, in terms of facing and improving our public health and outcomes set against a hardy national character which is reluctant to embrace change. We are lucky to have engaged and accessible politicians and a strong and knowledgeable media.

So why, say you, do my press releases never see the light of day?

In our efforts to get the information out there, we seem to face an audience of inscrutable clinical experts of questionable patronage running alongside gifted amateurs, science nerds and collectors of snake oil.

Facts may well be facts, but Health and Medical Public Relations will help you separate the interesting and relevant from the newsworthy, the self-serving and the frankly dubious. Peppered with good examples, it takes a traditional line which, to be honest, makes it less useful to those anxious to share their alternative health stats but hugely informative to anyone who needs to share a good story or dissuade an organisation from suffering ‘media death’ by management consensus.

If you have never planned a multi-dimensional campaign then chapter headings like ‘online and social media manager’, ‘community liaison, social events, sponsorship and fundraising’ and ‘speechwriter’ will take you to the next stage in your career.

Explanations of the complex landscape of NHS, pharmaceutical companies, polarised debates, emotional issues and the history of the industry will help you across potentially difficult territory.

Buy this book if you are in PR or public affairs.

Buy this book as a gift for those penniless charities trying to raise awareness of niche conditions.

Buy this book as a fascinating insight into the interaction between comms professionals, the media, the public and third sectors as a vital axis of sharing and cooperation for the greater good.

Comms has never looked so healthy.

Title: Health and Medical Public Relations

Author: Myc Riggulford

Publisher: Routledge

Date of publication: May 2013

Price: £24.99

ISBN number: 978-0-415-61331-6

Kate Cunningham is a public affairs and communications consultant specialising in health, education and third sector.