Forward Healthcare Awards 2021 finalists: six excellent uses of communication and engagement

Forward Healthcare Awards 2021, in association with CCube Solutions, give the team here at Leading Healthcare – and our panel of expert judges – the chance to acknowledge all the great work taking place in the world of health and care.

The awards week begins on 6 September 2021 and marks the start of five days spent highlighting innovations, projects, partnerships, pilots and more. We will announce the finalists and the winners and celebrate those that took part through a series of features, videos, and digital content.

As always, we begin our awards season by taking a closer look at our ‘featured finalists’. Next up, we focus on the category of “Excellence in Communication and Engagement”

Wirral University Hospital Teaching Trust – Keep It Simple

Our first entry in this category comes from Wirral University Hospital Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and their efforts to improve infection prevention and control at the Trust.

The Communications team at the Trust worked closely with the Infection Control and Prevention team, made up of specialist nurses and matrons, to develop a campaign that raised awareness around all types of infections. The campaign also highlighted the importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols, during the pandemic.

The Keep It SIMPLE campaign developed an acronym to simplify the measures in place :

  • Surveillance – detecting outbreaks and increased infection
  • Invasive devices – helping to reduce bacteraemia and infection
  • Multi-disciplinary groups – working together to provide patient care as everyone has a part to play
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – wearing the right level of PPE for the right task
  • Lessons learnt – reflecting on a patient’s journey and learning from it
  • Environmental cleanliness – maintaining a high level of cleanliness across the hospitals.

The campaign ran for 6 weeks across the Arrowe Park Hospital, Clatterbridge Hospital and Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital – the campaign included brightly coloured posters, leaflets, promotional content, all to promote infection control measures.

As a result of the campaign, reductions in infections have reduced at the trust. The Keep It Simple campaign has received praise from the Care Quality Commission and reported that it was an example of ‘outstanding practice.’

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG – Supported and connected: meaningful staff engagement

Our next entry into the Excellence in Communication and Engagement category is from Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and their work to improve staff wellbeing.

Following the government’s announcement in March 2020 that the country would be placed into lockdown, the CCG deployed remote working equipment for all staff. All non-essential business activity was halted.

Their strategy was to listen to staff, and they implemented a weekly temperature check, to root out any issues staff were facing, and the results were shared with senior leadership on a weekly basis. The survey was promoted week by week and at a staff briefing held by the Chief Executive. The engagement team also set up a weekly blog for the Chief Executive, and a weekly newsletter published by the team saw a high open rate of 73%.

The weekly Chief Executive briefing was switched to another platform that was more suited to screen readers, to improve accessibility. Overall, the engagement process received positive feedback from staff.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

We’re heading to the Midlands for our next entry, which is based on their digital strategy from 2021 – 2026. The strategy has seen over 100 hours of consultation from stakeholders so far.

The new strategy has 15 key themes and indicates that the Trust has an opportunity to be ‘match-fit digitally for the upcoming ICS strategy’.

Richard Cotterell, Chairman of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “As a board we are fully committed to our digital transformation journey, and we will ensure the engagement process continues through the delivery phases to make sure the strategy becomes a reality in the coming years.

“I am pleased to see a vision that is both achievable and one that will resonate across the organisation. For me, the most important element of the strategy is ensuring that the people we care for have their personal information following them as they travel around their care pathways.”

The digital strategy includes plans to install: “digital pathways, longitudinal care records, remote care, population health analytics, smart buildings, wearables, virtually assisted triage and referrals.”

Neil Carr, Chief Executive at the Trust, commented on the importance of the news strategy: “If there was ever a time where streamlined models of care through partnership working and maximising the use of technology was fundamental, it is now. With the demands as they are, unless we do things in partnership, we are dead in the water.”

Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group – Flu vaccination 2020/21: Promoting equitable uptake

We’re going back to Bristol for our next entry in the category, but this time their project focuses on promoting equitable uptake of the annual flu vaccine.

The project had a budget of £10,000 and was set up to tackle inequalities in certain communities in the local area, such as residents living in areas with higher rates of deprivation.

The planning of the campaign involved conducting an evidence review of clinical literature to identify groups less likely to receive the flu vaccine, hosting a citizens panel that represents residents, to find out what is drives vaccine hesitancy.

As a result of their research and understanding, the project started a social media campaign to raise awareness and combat vaccine myths that had taken hold in certain communities.

The CCG partnered with Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group and produced videos for social media that promoted the importance of having the vaccine and the safety it offered to those around you.

The research found men with respiratory illnesses were less likely to take the vaccine, as such the CCG collaborated with Bristol City Football Club, Bristol Bears Rugby, and Bristol Flyers Basketball, to run a social campaign and encourage men to “take one for the team.”

As a result of these campaigns vaccination rates among Asian populations rose by 15%.

Gloucestershire NHS FT releases new five-year strategy

Our penultimate entry into this category comes from Gloucestershire NHS FT, and their new five-year strategy, from 2021-2026.

The strategy is centred on the theme of asking “What matters to you?” and there is a specific focus on offering personalised care to patients. The strategy will also address the ongoing issue of climate change and its impact on the communities in the area.

Four strategic aims are outlined in the strategy, and they are:

  • High Quality Care – delivering safe, effective, accessible services through co-production and personalisation, developing a Quality Improvement approach and ‘robust’ quality assurance processes.
  • Better Health – working in partnership with communities to improve health outcomes for those who are most disadvantaged through intervention and prevention, identifying and targeting inequalities, integrating services, population health management and health data.
  • Great Place to Work – ensuring the wellbeing and health of the workforce, promoting flexible working, training and digital enablement, and focusing on recruitment, retention and talent management.
  • Sustainability – embracing the latest technology as an ‘ethical partner’ and demonstrating how the trust is reducing its carbon footprint, setting ‘clear and measurable targets’, being ‘Digital by Design’ and promoting local employment opportunities.

The new strategy will be reviewed on an annual basis so it can “responds to any changes in the local or national context.”

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH)

Our final entry in this category comes from one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK, OUH has over 12,00 staff, caring for over one million patients, from acute and specialist services, across Oxfordshire and the South East.

Their entry is centred around a new five-year strategy framework and makes digital tools a key component of their care going forward. By 2025, OUH has set out to achieve the following objectives:

  • Make OUH a great place to work,
  • Achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating by CQC,
  • Improve outcomes in Oxfordshire and beyond

The strategy includes plans to work alongside new Primary Care Networks, and community health teams across the Oxfordshire region, to join up care in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.