Melanie Shilton, Communications Manager, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group will present the Winter Communications, Engagement and Marketing Plan 2017/18.
Melanie Shilton (Communications Manager, Corporate Affairs, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group) attended the meeting to present the report and respond to Members’ questions on the Communications and Engagement Plan.
The following comments were noted during the presentation:-
a) Although the Plan was a collaborative LLR approach there were specific initiative that would be delivered in the City. There was a strong collaborative approach across the LLR and all communications leads met fortnightly and would continue to do so throughout the winter to review the effectiveness of the arrangements.
b) There were 5 key themes to the communications plan:-
1 Raising awareness of flu jab particularly with patients over 65 and those with long term conditions. The plan was currently live and supporting GP practices to reach patients to have their flu jab. One element was proactive telephone calls to patients identified as being at risk to encourage them to have their vaccinations. There was some additional money available to support this for 8-10 practices in the city.
The national flu campaign would be launched later in the week and would focus on parents of young children, those with long term health conditions, pregnant women and BME communities.
2 Christmas Period The communications would be increased around the Christmas period encouraging people to contact the NHS 111 service which would then advise patients on the best service to use to get the appropriate level of health care for the patient’s needs e.g Pharmacy and GP practices where appropriate to relive the pressure on A&E Departments. In previous years patients who were unsure where service they could use to receive treatment had generally gone to A&E in the first instance. The strategy aimed to reduce the spikes in demands at A&E department experienced in previous years.
3 Early help especially directed at the elderly who traditionally delayed getting care in the early stages which resulted in their condition deteriorating resulting in increased chances of being admitted to hospital.
4 Discharge Arrangements to encourage patients to return home with support if appropriate.
5 Care Homes were a key part of the health system and communications with care homes would be increased during the winter period to try and reduce hospital admissions. Targeted communication had been successful with students in the City in the previous year
c) Specific initiatives in the City would include:-
· Using all the free and owned channels of communications and relationships with key partners, including the Patient Participation Groups GP Practices and voluntary and community sector services.
· A variety of toolkits would be shared widely and there would be pro-active outreach by attending community events. This outreach had already been to all student fresher fairs. The CCG arranged the contents displayed on the GP practice screens and this would be actively used to promote the Health Care Hubs, contacting the NHS 111service and the availability of flu jabs etc. All channels of communications would be giving the same message to the public at the same time and all health partners’ websites would be pushing the same messages in order to increase the communication’s penetration across the city
· The 4th Health Care Hub had opened in the previous week and communications would continue to promote the public awareness to the Hubs in general and the 4th Hub in particular.
· Health care messages, promotion of Health Care Hubs and NHS 111 service would be displayed on the big screens at the Diwali celebrations and then again at the Bonfire Night celebrations to reach large audiences.
· Self-care was also important to prevent admissions to hospitals and the health care system and also to help manage GP practice workloads in the winter. The communications would be targeted to build patients confidence to get the right care in right place and at right time. Self-care awareness week would be launched on13 November.
· The health care messages would be repeated throughout the winter.
Following comments and questions from Members, the following responses were received:-
a) The impact of elements for each specific communication channel would be monitored and measured, including how widely information was shared and the level of video usage etc.
b) There would be specific marketing in south of the city as patients had been observed using the A&E Department in greater numbers than the rest of the city. There was a delicate balance in the communications as a previous targeted postcode communications campaign had resulted in increasing the attendance at the A&E Department by 10% by raising awareness of its existence. Communications needed to be directed to encouraging patients to use pharmacies and the NHS 111 Service at the earliest opportunity to reduce hospital admissions which increases the pressure and strain upon the health system during the winter months.
c) There were general concerns that flu levels had been high during the recent winter in Australia and the health system had struggled to cope with the increased winter demand during a mild winter last year. The health system was observing the effect of the flu levels as it progressed through Asia. Partners were arranging to get front line care staff vaccinated to improve the chances of them being able to continue to work to provide health care should there be a flu epidemic during the winter.
d) All partner organisations should promote the consistent sharing of health messages during the winter. Elected councillors could also help by promoting the messages in their ward surgeries to promote the flu vaccination programme and to encourage the elderly in particularly to seek early intervention for colds and reduce their guilt of engaging with health services
e) There had been negative media stories early in the year about the NHS being in crisis, to address this issue, the communications would consistently deliver the message encouraging patients to use NHS services wisely to prevent excessive pressures on A&E departments in the winter and to reassure the public that services would be available when needed.
f) The CCG were actively working with a variety of groups about the content of flu vaccine to improve the take up of vaccinations especially in BME communities. The CCG had engaged the Confederation of Muslim Organisations to listen to concerns about the contents of the vaccines and nasal sprays and to reassure the community that the current nasal spray could be safely administered. Dr Shahid Latif had recently discussed the issues live on LRB Radio in the city and there had been a good response from the Muslim community to the vaccination programme. A Muslim mothers group had asked Dr Latif to address them to improve the understanding of the vaccination programme and the contents of the nasal spray.
That CCG officers be thanked for their presentation and response to Members questions and that the Council look at ways in which information can be cascaded to ward community meetings and councillors ward surgeries across the city.