Last year I decided to take a leap of faith and move to the NHS after over a decade of working in the charity sector.
Since joining the #NHScomms community, I’ve been really struck by the resilience, passion and creativity shown by public sector comms professionals. I recently attended the inaugural NHS Confederation Communications Conference in Liverpool which provided a perfect showcase for this.
Here are my top five takeaways from the event:
1. “Create impactful social media campaigns using the EAST framework – easy, attractive, timely and social.” Ceri Rose, assistant marketing director for NHS Blood and Transplant talking about how they designed the award winning campaign Missing Type.
2. “Ask yourself two questions. What do you want? What does your audience want?” Tom Scott, professional YouTuber talking about the strategic questions NHS communicators need to ask themselves when deciding what channel to use to reach their target audiences.
3. “The secret of crisis management is not good vs bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse” – Alicia Custis, head of communications at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust quoted Andy Gilman when talking about how her team managed three years of intense media scrutiny during a murder enquiry at Stepping Hill Hospital. Custis explained how having an effective crisis comms plan in place, good relationships with the media and the importance of advocates in the community was vital in managing the crisis.
4. “Communications is the sister of leadership” Director of communications at NHS Digital, Rachel Royall, quoted John Adair to emphasise the vital role communications professionals play in advising leaders by ‘holding up a mirror’ about how the organisation is perceived both internally and externally. Royall explained how research has shown that 92% of the population trust nurses so NHS communicators should leverage this to deliver their communications.
5. The NHS is celebrating its 70th Birthday on 5 July 2018. Simon Enright, director of communications at NHS England and Antony Tiernan, engagement and communications director for the NHS70 campaign presented about the early plans for celebrating this momentous occasion.
Catch up on all the tweets from the event by searching #Commsconf17 or #NHScomms
About the writer
Katherine Raven has worked in the public relations industry for more than twelve years leading the communications for national health charities and NHS organisations. She is Head of Communications at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London. Previously Katherine worked as the senior communications manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People and press and campaigns manager at the British Lung Foundation.
Katherine is a Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Accredited Practitioner. She also served as an elected CIPR council member and co-chair of the CIPR Not-for-Profit group from 2014-2016.