• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 10/12/2012

    Stephen Whitehead appointed HCA President: A new era for healthcare communications

The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) has announced that Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, is to take up the newly-created role of HCA President in 2013.


This new appointment underlines the importance of communications within the pharmaceutical industry. It also marks a new era for the HCA as it diversifies to focus on new and emerging disciplines that reflect the changing healthcare environment.

Stephen’s appointment coincides with a reorganisation of the HCA’s Executive Committee and the end of the two-year tenure of the current Chair, Cherry Wood, Managing Director of Liberation Communications.

Speaking about his new role as President of the HCA, Stephen said:

"Healthcare communications has grown in maturity and stature and must be recognised as a key contributor in the industry mission to ensure that the healthcare profession and patient organisations get the latest and most reliable information on changing medicines and the value they offer. The NHS is under huge pressure to deliver more with less, modern medicines prove their value endlessly in the ongoing battle against disease and the very sustainability of the NHS relies on innovations that reduce secondary care admissions, keep patients well at home and enable healthier longer lives.

"We should be proud of what we do, we inform, we educate and we look to the future of healthcare. The healthcare communicator is a vital part of delivering a future vision of healthcare where our stakeholders understand the real value our medicines offer. I started my career as a healthcare communicator and it taught me many important lessons, not least if you put the patient at the heart of your thinking you cannot go wrong. I am privileged to be nominated as the first President of the HCA and to represent a vibrant, exciting and talented group of professionals".

Julia Cook, Chief Executive of the HCA, said:

"We are delighted that Stephen has agreed to take on this new role. It further underlines the pivotal role that healthcare communications has to play in the pharmaceutical sector and will help facilitate closer collaboration going forward between the HCA and ABPI, which can only benefit the industry in general. Stephen is ideally suited to the new role, bringing a wealth of experience in healthcare communications - including 10 years at GSK and Lilly at UK, European and international levels - as well as key insights from leading roles in other industry sectors. He has already demonstrably changed both the nature and extent of communications at the ABPI.”

Healthcare communications has diversified dramatically over the last decade, as the importance of medical education, digital communications, market access, policy and public affairs have evolved. This is increasingly reflected both in the focus of HCA activities and in the make-up of the new Executive Committee, which will in future also include specialist representation from these various different disciplines that together constitute modern healthcare communications.

Meanwhile, the HCA continues to offer leading edge professional training, industry benchmarking research and various specialist events aimed at stimulating debate, learning and knowledge-sharing.

For further information, interview requests or images, please contact Julia Cook 01483 281321.

Notes to Editor

Call to action for your readers:

As he embarks on the new role as President, Stephen would like to hear from your readers on how the HCA should evolve over the course of his tenure: What are the biggest challenges for communicators in the changing healthcare environment and what priorities should the HCA focus on? Your readers are invited to send any comments or feedback to: president@hca-uk.org.

About the HCA:

Formed in 2001, The Healthcare Communications Association (HCA) is an independent not-for profit organisation with the stated aim of promoting excellence and best practice in the field of healthcare communications.

There are currently over 80 HCA member companies representing the majority of the blue chip pharmaceutical industry in the UK and leading healthcare communications consultancies and consultants.

HCA Membership:

As it diversifies into new disciplines including medical education, digital communications, market access, policy and public affairs, the HCA actively encourages membership renewals or extensions and welcomes new members to join. For further information about the HCA, or to become a member, please visit www.hca-uk.org, or contact: Julia Cook (Chief Executive) on 01483 281321, or Romilly Cook (HCA Secretariat) at info@hca-uk.org.

About the ABPI:

The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.

Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and lifeenhancing medicines to patients. Our members supply 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing over two-thirds of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.

The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.

Print this page icon Print this page
Please choose the subject of your enquiry from the list below:
Code to enter for submitting the form
Enter the above code here:
Can't read? Try different words.