Update from the CEO

Your Sector, Your Organisation – an update from the HCA’s Chief Executive, Mike Dixon

It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Healthcare Communications Association. In an extremely active 2018 we have seen a year of re-establishing foundations, evolution and growth. Our activity has remained focused on our three strategic pillars which are:
  1. Acting as the champion for our sector – encompassing the HCA’s role in driving quality standards and best practice in healthcare communications, building partnerships with relevant key stakeholders as well as bringing together a collective voice for our sector.
  2. Continued Professional Development – incorporating our training and other activities which help members develop in their own careers, but also ensures as a sector we have the knowledge, skills and understanding of how to use these to continue to innovate and deliver world class communications.
  3. Shared Experience – facilitating opportunities for shared learning and networking from within and outside our sector.
And if you thought you saw a lot happening in 2018, then I can assure you 2019 is going to be even more exciting. But let’s first just look at some highlights from 2018:
  • 50% more events than previous year
  • Of all the events, 50% were free and exclusive to members
  • New CPD initiative launched with all HCA training now CPD accredited and a plan to offer accreditation of in-house and external courses too
  • Four successful new CPD courses established and held, targeting senior as well as junior practitioners
  • 30% increase in participation in the new streamlined Benchmarking Survey (more information available here)
  • In addition, we also provided a sector response to the ABPI Code of Practice Consultation and have launched third sector, mental health and apprenticeship initiatives.      

To ensure the HCA develops with a strong foundation of good governance, whilst allowing the organisation the flexibility to grow and quickly respond to the needs of the members, a whole new structure was established.  This now includes a Governance Council whose responsibility includes a monitoring role to ensure the HCA remains well directed and managed, is delivering in-line with its Mission, whilst representing the interest of members. We have also more clearly recognised and defined the commitment for the Executive Committee and other HCA Volunteers who are so vital to the success of the HCA and our activities.

2018 was also an important year for listening. The HCA is your organisation, working in your sector, so we have held roundtable discussions with members, as well as one-to-one meetings, to ensure activity is delivering against your priorities. This dialogue will of course continue, but as a direct result, there are already eight new initiatives that have been launched in 2018 for delivery in 2019 and beyond, as follows:
  • Improving innovation
  • Pitching Code of Practice
  • Engagement across Europe
  • Bringing new talent into the sector
  • Recruitment
  • Retaining mid-level talent
  • Best practice in digital commissioning
  • Better integration of our third sector members       

For those member organisations who had representation at the Annual Members’ Meeting at the end of November, you will have heard the leads for these initiatives outline their aims, objectives and proposed timings. This information, in the form of their slides, is now also available here.  

Those speakers also shared how all members can get involved in these initiatives. It is certainly true that as members, the more you get involved, the more you will get out of your membership.  

Finally, our schedule of confirmed 2019 CPD course dates and the Q1 Shared Experience events are now all available online.  Please do support these CPD courses. The content will be more tailored to our sector and more cost-effective for our members than you will find elsewhere. And of course, the HCA is a not-for-profit organisation, so the money from these courses goes directly back to you as members, through the work of the HCA.

It’s your sector and your organisation, so please continue to contact me with your thoughts and ideas of how we move forward and where we should be focused.  Together as the HCA we have the opportunity to make a real difference within our sector.

I wish you, your colleagues and family a very pleasant festive season and a healthy and successful 2019.  

Kind regards,
Mike Dixon