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Q&A with Tim Cockroft

PME interviews the founding director of akt health communications

Tim Cockroft
Tim Cockroft, founder, akt health communications

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

John Humphrys’ dulcet tones. And, more often than not, the Radio 4 pips that tell me it’s an hour later than I’d hoped. Then the inevitable chess game of getting my two young children ready for school.

What’s the best thing about working in healthcare comms?

I just find this industry incredibly interesting. We often see life-changing science and technology years before anyone else, we are on the front lines of the debate around pricing and access – and everything in between. The fact that we get to play a significant part in how and when people hear about some of the biggest issues in healthcare is quite unique.

In a field where you deal with some pretty devastating diseases, it’s also heartening to see the progress being made. I’m meeting people now who are virtually cured of diseases they thought were death sentences when diagnosed, and that’s becoming more and more common.

What’s the worst thing about working in healthcare comms?

There are banal processes and compliance hurdles, as there would be in any highly regulated industry. However, I think the most frustrating thing from my perspective is, despite giving everything to a campaign, at the end some people may still be unable to access the treatment they need. Pricing and access is a raging debate and there are tough questions to answer on both sides of
the fence; the important thing is that we keep challenging the status quo and progress will come.

What buzzwords/office-jargon/ concepts get on your nerves?

None – I love them all. Ducks lined up, time for a thought monsoon, action stations, dream team – you name it. Just not if they’re ever said with any sort of genuine sincerity.

What’s your favourite bar or eatery?

Perilla on Newington Green. They serve soup in an onion that’s on fire. Enough said.

Which book/film would you recommend above all others and why?

Not sure about ‘above all others’ but This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is well worth a short read. It brings together two of Britain’s most unshakeable virtues – the NHS and dry wit.

Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most and why?

Einstein. To create (or even put your thought to) theories like the special theory of relativity is just mind-boggling. Other than that, astrophysicists in general – I’d love to have been one, but giant equations are not my strong point.

Who’s your healthcare comms hero/heroine?

My partners in crime Anna Radnavale and Katy Foy – these two are outstanding examples of how women in this industry can lead from the front and still keep life in perspective, finding time for family, friends and themselves.

Anna and Katy

What has been your career highlight to date?

Undoubtedly starting akt health. It’s a daunting prospect going out on your own, but we’ve just had an incredible first year working on some of the highest-profile stories in medicine from the past 12 months. It’s a great team, with great clients, and we’re all looking forward to year two.

What’s your golden rule/piece of advice for someone starting a career in healthcare comms?

What’s been done before is not necessarily the right option. Whether you’re creative or technical, this industry thrives on new ideas, so put them out there and see what happens.

8th May 2019

From: Marketing

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