Health titles in intensive care as Reed Elsevier plans closures

A tough financial climate in the pharmaceuticals industry coupled with the drastic effects of the NHS recruitment website appear to be the main reasons behind the impending closure of Hospital Doctor and two other Elsevier-owned healthcare titles.

Some 32 jobs are to go with the closure of the titles.

An internal memo to staff management cited declining ad revenue, caused in part by the NHS recruitment site, for the proposed closure of weekly magazines Doctor, Hospital Doctor and Update. A fourth title, Practice Nurse, will be shifted into another part of the business.

A second internal memo to staff at Elsevier, which is owned by Reed Elsevier, reiterated the limitations of the print magazine market in the sector: ‘Elsevier Health Sciences UK/NL has undertaken a review of its business and title portfolio and has come to the conclusion that, going forward, the opportunities in the UK physician print magazine market are limited”.

Staff are currently in consultation with management and are expected to lose their jobs in mid-January.

Doctor, which is aimed at GPs and others healthcare professionals in the primary care sector, has competed with CMPi-owned Pulse and Haymarket’s GP magazine.

GP’s editor-in-chief Colin Cooper said the recruitment market had suffered a downturn in the past few years because the NHS had moved many job advertisements from the trade press to its own jobs site.

Cooper also blamed a recruitment freeze across the primary care sector of the NHS for declining ad revenue.

‘Because of all the financial problems the NHS is having, empty posts are not being filled, people are being made redundant and that’s really hit the display ad market. We still get decent recruitment advertising, but far less than before.”

The medical publishing industry has also suffered from recent trends in the pharmaceutical market.

In a tough financial market, big pharmaceutical companies have merged and subsequently spent less on marketing. And there has been a lack of big blockbuster drugs entering the market to promote.

Government restrictions on pharmaceutical advertising have not helped the publishing companies’ position.

The Government has been keen to increase the prescription of generic non-brand drugs by GPs which has also hit display advertising.

The NHS recruitment site is likely to have hit the secondary core titles such as Hospital Doctor hardest.

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