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Archive for July, 2008

Labour’s humiliating defeat in Glasgow East should be the end of Brown, say’s PRimage

Friday, July 25th, 2008

It’s no good Brown banging on about 11 years of economic growth, or the Chancellor, Hazel Blears and Scottish secretary Des Browne bleating on that voters were reacting to rising food and fuel prices. The fact is that most people – not just the Scots – are fed up with this incompetent Labour government under the leadership of the beleagured Brown. Everyone that Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team know feels disillusioned and the general view is that Labour have lost their direction and lost touch with the core voters that put them into power. For a long time the government have been saying they are ‘listening to the people’ but not actually doing it. In our view Brown’s days are numbered. He should resign and let someone take over or better still, follow the advice from GMB union leader Paul Kenny, who calls for Gordon Brown to face a Labour leadership contest this autumn!

Call us cynics, but the PRimage team think it is no coincidence that Labour called the by-election two days after Parliament went into summer recess … most MPs are off on their hols, which must be a comfort for Brown …. no MPs meeting in the tea rooms to plot and discuss how he could be replaced! But we bet there will be lots of covert conversations and emails over the next couple of weeks….. and by the time of the party conference in September things could be looking very dodgy for the PM!

Judy Viitanen agrees with David Cameron: after this humiliating result Brown should call a general election …  Judging from recent opinion polls, most voters feel the same!

Sats Exams Sagas – PRimage comment

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

As a former school governor, Judy Viitanen believes that the fiasco of the problems involving the marking of this year’s Sats exams is something every parent should be concerned about. Judy is appalled by the way that Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls is trying to absolve himself of blame. The man is totally arrogant! PRimage view is that the only sensible solution to these problems is to give full independence to exam boards, and prevent them being pressured by the Government to give the appearance of raising standards.

Will Glasgow East By-election bring more gloom for Brown? PRimage viewpoint

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

As the political parties make their final pitch to voters in the last day of campaigning for the Glasgow East by-election, a new political opinion poll suggests that Labour will struggle to win; with only forty-six per cent of people polled believing Labour can win tomorrow. Judy Viitanen agrees! This poll should make depressing reading for the Prime Minister – because when asked whether Gordon Brown should resign as PM if his party loses the by-election, half of respondents said he should. Only forty two per cent disagreed. Watch this space! ……

Pharmacy First! PRimage advice for effective consumer communications campaign

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team have a strong reputation and proven track record in consumer healthcare communications. And the team maximises every opportunity in our consumer messaging and lobbying to remind the public that their local pharmacy is a superb and accessible resource for expert and friendly advice on everday minor ailments and the safe use of medicines.

For many years Judy co-ordinated the NPA’s successful industry generic ‘Ask You Pharmacist – You’ll Be Taking Good Advice’ advertising and PR campaign in women’s magazines and the regional media. But we haven’t seen many of these effective ads in the leading women’s magazines for several years now. Seems a shame (and a missed opportunity),especially with the issues surounding GP access — many people have problems getting a doctor’s appointment – and their local pharmacist is a valuable ‘first port of call’ for healthcare advice.

So we totally agree with The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) that there is a need for a ‘Pharmacy First’ public awareness campaign to highlight the advice provided by pharmacists and to encourage the public to use pharmacy as a first port of call for minor ailments. This follows the All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care and Public Health Group’s recent inquiry into GP access.

As a specialist communications consultancy, the experience and advice from PRimage is that any new pharmacy campaign needs to be as robust and high profile as possible – with a generic message pitched and positioned at all pharmacy users. Plus key comms messages at target groups, especially young people, men, mums with childen, and the elderly and their carers. To be effective, the campaign should feature in all the relevant magazines….publishers such as IPC Magazines have a portfolio of titles to suit all these demographic groups. Watch this space …..

Prescription Charges in England: PRimage say get your MP to sign this Early Day Motion!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Judy Viitanen is pleased to see that in Parliament Bob Spink MP has just tabled a new Early Day Motion (EDM) on Prescription Charges in England. The EDM notes the different prescription charging policies in UK countries; notes also that the NHS could save millions if more generic drugs were prescribed where appropriate; futher notes that the Office of Fair Trading report on the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme identified potential savings of £500 million from just a limited range of drug categories; further notes that paid for prescriptions raise only £430 million; further notes that people in England often cannot take the drugs they are prescribed, leading to health complications and further costs to the NHS; further notes that the National Audit Office estimated drug wastage in the NHS to amount to more than £100 million; and therefore calls on the Government to adopt UKIP policy of free prescriptions across the UK and to fund this by greater use of generic drugs and less wastage.

PRimage urges everyone to lobby their local MP to support this EDM – and put pressure on the Government to implement the review as soon as possible!

PRimage Back Calls For Overdue Review On Prescription Charges

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

As a specialist healthcare lobbying and PR consultancy, with indepth knowledge on the issues surrounding the system of prescription charges, PRimage wholeheartedly supports the call from the national charity, Citizens Advice, that Health Ministers and the Department of Health urgently need to implement their committment to review pescription charges.

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe that it is very worrying that one year after the Department of Health promised to carry out a review on prescription charges in England, many hundreds of thousands of people on low incomes with chronic health problems are still not getting their prescriptions dispensed and are putting their health at risk.

Judy Viitanen, PRimage managing Director, has done extensive communications work and lobbying around the anomolies and inequity of prescription charges. She has issued press comment and discussion papers on this – and has campaigned policy makers to stress the need for an extensive review of the system in England. We strongly believe that Government should listen to the validity of the argument to totally abolish prescription charges! Do you agree?

PRimage believe that if one accepts the concept of the NHS being free at the point of delivery, then there is a strong and valid arguement for the total abolition of script charges across the UK – not just in Wales and Scotland. Our view is that this would significantly reduce patient inequity. Although exemption arrangements mean that over 85% of prescriptions are dispensed without charge, PRimage feel that the current prescription charge is a hefty outlay and cost for many people – especially those patients who are on multiple medication, or have a long-term medical condition for which script exemption cost does not apply.

Through our client contacts within the community pharmacy sector, Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team know that many local pharmacists around the country have first-hand anecdotal feedback from patients about the costs of prescriptions. What’s your view and experience?

Captiva Island – PRimage highly recommend this captivating holiday island in Florida

Friday, July 11th, 2008

“When will the summer start?” has got to be the most recently asked question at the moment …. Being July, it’s not unreasonable to expect a bit of sun is it?! Judy and Peter Viitanen are in France at the moment … and yes, it’s raining here too!

So if you’re looking for a perfect and relaxing holiday venue this Summer to escape the rain in the UK, Judy suggests checking out Captiva or Sanibel Islands in South West Florida. We spent a wonderfully memorable vacation there recently, staying at the delightful ‘Tween Waters Inn’. Check it out on: www.tween-waters.com …. you’ll love what it has to offer! It’s great for romantic couples and families alike. In fact we had such a great time, we’re planning a return trip this Autumn.

Primary care strategy signals Government’s priorities for pharmacy, say’s CCA

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

PRimage client, The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), has welcomed the launch of the Department of Health’s primary and community care strategy as part of the NHS Review.

Rob Darracott, CCA CEO, comments: ‘It provides an insight into the areas that the Department of Health see as especially important for community pharmacy as part of its overall strategy. These include a minor ailments scheme, vascular checks and provision of healthy living services and public health interventions. It is good news that there is recognition of the need for pharmacy to have access to the care record, but these good intentions need to be translated into concrete action plans. It is crucial that we make significant progress on all these commitments in the next 12 months.’

Marketing, branding and consumerism vital for the new NHS, says PRimage’s Peter Viitanen

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Peter Viitanen, PRimage marketing director, believes that with the strategies of both the Darzi Review and those of the primary and community care report linking service quality and funding for the first time, it means that after 60 years, marketing looks like playing a key and integral role in the new NHS. PRimage welcome this wholeheartedly – and we would love to use our proven track record of healthcare communications expertise and in-depth integrated marketing and research skills to help NHS organisations and health professionals make the most of this opportunity to help create a truly patient-led NHS.

To find out how Peter and the PRimage team can help you maximise fully your NHS marketing opportunities – and build your NHS ‘brand’ with consumers, please contact us on 01727-874137, email judy@primage.org

NHS at 60 … Stuffing Their Mouths With Gold … PRimage comment

Friday, July 4th, 2008

Having a late lunch at her desk this afternoon, PRimage MD, Judy Viitanen, tuned into the Radio 4 Friday play, ‘Stuffing Their Mouths With Gold’, by Jerome Vincent – broadcast by the Beeb to mark the founding of the NHS in July 1948.

Athough at times it became more of a lecture than a drama, overall it made for enjoyable listening, as it followed the strategies of Aneurin Bevan in his fight to create a free health service. Following the Labour landslide victory in 1945, the new Minister of Health knew he had the chance to bring about a real revolution: the creation of a free health service. But he had a devil of a job on his hands getting both the Royal College of Physicians and the dissenters in his own Party on his side. He had to placate the consultants, who want to keep their private fees, and the politicians who want an end to a two-tier health service ….

Placating the consultants won, hence the play’s title, “Stuffing Their Mouths With Gold” – which is an attributable quote from comments made by Bevan at the time. Listening to the sagas of Bevan trying to broker a deal between his Socialist colleagues and the RCP, Judy had a feeling of ‘deja-vu’ — in light of the current dynamics in the NHS of July 2008,  the drama’s portrayal of the dramatic clashes six decades ago seemed to resonate the sagas that Alan Johnson, the current Secretary of State, and his health ministers are having with medics and the BMA! Plus ca change?