With our local partners, East Berkshire CCG has been working consistently over the past few years to support residents to look after their own health. If, however, someone does become unwell, we have data driven communication strategies in place built on lessons learned over the past three years.
2017 Social marketing project – where it all began
In 2017, we conducted a social marketing pilot project with a Bracknell practice which involved engagement with local schools. The idea was to help signpost people to the most appropriate service and make the NHS options clear. Materials were designed with patient representatives and GP practice staff and pretested with local community groups. The engagement with schools was positive and the lessons learned have been taken forward.
2018 – Our insights got stronger
Summer: The urgent care engagement work resulted in greater understanding of the local population and the way NHS services are perceived and used. During ‘Big Conversation’ we heard from over 2,300 residents across East Berkshire and it was clear that people did not know where to go for NHS services and so using the insight from the successful Bracknell project, the “Feeling Unwell?” #NHSdontknowheretogo campaign was created for winter.
2018 winter campaign – data driven communications and a positive evaluation
Looking at NHS data, it was clear in East Berkshire that key target group would need to be parents/carers of children, who use A&E services disproportionately. For this reason, the campaign used channels reaching parents and school book bags. Real case studies of local families were used and included in the flyers as well as social media campaigns.
The 2018 winter campaign was evaluated in April 2019, and it was found to have been received positively. People understood the message, and like the look/feel of the materials. There was very good recall on the poster and flyer and the channels included house to house distribution via council tax notifications.
Over 130 people were interviewed face to face. 24 out of the 91 who had seen the campaign (26%), said it helped them make their decision on that day they visited the service. 83 people said it impacted their behavioural intention to use services more appropriately going forward.
It goes beyond winter
These important messages are now used throughout the year, whenever the health system is under pressure and we need to signpost residents to alternative services.
2019 winter campaign – the next level
Based on the feedback of the 2018 campaign, the materials have been updated and there has been natural progression of the message to #NHSKnowWhereToGo. This is reflective of the journey we are taking our population on, from not knowing where to go when feeling unwell, to actually knowing where to go. This is also in line with national research that states that we need to tell people where to go, and avoid “do not go” messages.
Engagement with schools has also moved to the next level, with the CCG designing a session for Year 4 children and delivering with the support from GPs, in line with public health. The session covers hand hygiene/infection control, but focuses on a quiz re “know where to go when feeling unwell.” So far there has been excellent interest from schools and the session is planned for delivery between November and March.