In a bid to reduce the pressure on Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, NHS Arden & GEM CSU worked with CCGs across Coventry and Warwickshire, to encourage people to choose the right health service at the right time.
Launched in advance of the busy winter period, the Choose Well, Feel Well campaign included a free guide for the public, a mobile app to help residents locate appropriate local health services, plus a fun animation video which was shared widely across social media networks. This multi-channel approach enabled our clients to reach the audiences they most wanted to target.
A&E departments across the country face serious challenges as increasing numbers of people seek emergency treatment. With the winter period being the busiest time for health services, this places considerable strain on already stretched A&E staff.
Developing a campaign that would reach as many people as possible and educate them to ‘choose well’ when seeking medical treatment, required an innovative and integrated approach. With significant experience of engaging with communities, our highly creative in-house communications team worked with CCGs and providers to deliver a high profile campaign that not only targeted audiences effectively, but reflected the changing issues faced by health and social care providers across the area.
Working with three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authority public health departments and local hospitals, we focused on developing a campaign that would deliver consistent messages across a range of services and target a wide audience.
Recognising that this would require a range of media channels to reach the desired audiences, we developed an integrated strategy that would maximise the impact of the campaign messages. Using traditional methods of communication as well as social media and online tools to capture the imagination of younger people, the campaign included:
- A free ‘Feel Well and Choose Well’ guide offering tips on staying healthy during winter and where and when to use health services - distributed via health and social care services, including; GP Surgeries, pharmacies, council locations and A&E departments
- A light-hearted animation video called ‘Dee’s A&E Fail Tale' aimed at 16-25 year olds using humorous but true examples of when not to go to A&E
- The ‘Health Sat Nav’ mobile app to signpost people to their nearest health service (Pharmacy, GP, Walk-in, A&E, Dentist, Optician) based on their location
- A radio campaign on Free Radio including a series of vignettes and presenter reads to deliver the messages in an informal and engaging way
- Promotion via Twitter using the hashtag #feelwell
- Engagement events in various locations across Coventry and Warwickshire - our engagement team was out and about in the community giving help and advice on staying healthy and getting medical help using a range of fun engagement activities.
Delivered in two phases, the campaign focused on ‘Feel Well’ messages between November and December 2013, and how to stay healthy over the winter period. Advice included flu vaccinations, washing hands and looking after vulnerable neighbours, as well as where to get medical help. From December to February we concentrated on ‘Choose Well’ - educating people about selecting the right health service at the right time by providing information about self-care, NHS 111, pharmacy, GP, walk-in and urgent care centres, and A&E.
Key to our role was coordinating activity across our public sector partners to ensure the campaign was on track and that current health issues were integrated into the campaign to keep it current and relevant. This included weekly winter roundup calls from acute hospitals which were fed into campaign messages so that the media and other stakeholders were completely abreast of what was happening on the ground.
The objective of the campaign was to reach as many people as possible with an educational message. In terms of campaign reach, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our face to face engagement activity resulted in 586 people playing our ‘test your Choose Well knowledge’ wire game and over 500 testing the cleanliness of their hands under UV light.
With over 110,000 views on YouTube and requests to showcase the video from other CCGs and organisations from as far afield as Arizona, the animated video is proving to be a popular way to communicate common concerns faced by emergency service providers.
The mobile app has also been downloaded over 1700 times since its launch.
What we have learnt
This project helped consolidate our commitment to developing bespoke, creative campaigns in close partnership with public sector partners. Messages were adapted in response to developing issues across the patch - which helped created a dynamic, interactive and engaging campaign.
Working with the CCGs, local councils and acute hospitals enabled us to coordinate weekly updates and tailor information throughout the campaign. This ensured stakeholders always had the most up to date, locally relevant information to hand.
As patients increasingly look online for information, we are using the lessons learnt from this project to support CCGs make better use of online approaches to communicate complex health messages in the future.
More about this service