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Insiders are blaming the departure of another senior media official on control-freakery at the Department of Health.

Peter Addison-Child, deputy director of communications for the NHS Executive in Leeds, is to leave for a post as a headhunter for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sources close to Mr AddisonChild say the reasons behind his departure mirror those of Helen McCallum, who left her post as the Department of Health's director of communications last month.

'Peter has been trying to get out for 18 months . . . It is undoubtedly rooted in problems working with the current ministerial team. The special advisers have so much more clout than anyone with professional advice that it becomes impossible to have an impact.'

One source close to the Executive blamed Mr Addison-Child's departure on the priority the government gave to media issues over internal communications with NHS staff.

'It is more and more about controlling media issues and less and less about the staff in the NHS. If there are shortcomings, staff need to be informed about them - but ministers do not want that, especially if the shortcomings in the system are rooted in policy decisions.'

In a letter to his staff, Mr Addison-Child, aged 37, insisted that the offer of a role which opened doors to a new sector 'was simply too tempting to pass over'.

The DoH has advertised the director of communications role at a salary of about£100,000.

Current acting director Sian Jarvis, previously Ms McCallum's deputy, is front-runner for the post.