THURSDAY 3 DEC 2009 11:40 AM


Gordon Brown is the most ineffective communicator on swine flu, according to a new report.

The study - "Swine Flu: getting the message through", conducted by Insignia Communications together with the University of Wolverhampton – was designed to shed new light on how spokespeople can communicate successfully about risks.

It revealed that the most effective spokesperson was Professor John Oxford, professor of virology at the University of London, with Health Secretary Andy Burnham in second place.

Members of the public were shown fifteen media interviews and speeches about swine flu and asked for their views on the effectiveness of each spokesperson, and the reasons why they drew these conclusions.

"This research makes it clear that high profile spokespeople have enormous power to reassure and inform the public in the event of a health scare,” said Jonathan Hemus, director of Insignia Communications, a consultancy which specialises in risk communication. “Equally, they have the ability to cause unnecessary confusion, distress and concern if they fail to communicate effectively. They need to recognise that this position of power also brings with it responsibility.”