ChallengeIn autumn 2020 NHS England and NHS Improvement introduced a new campaign to increase awareness on how NHS 111 could help people decide the best course of action to take when they had an urgent, but non-life-threatening, health concern.
NHS 111 was set up to help reduce the pressure on hard-pressed Urgent Emergency Care and help people choose the best course of action. The aim is to direct people to use the 111 First service when they have an urgent, but non-life-threatening medial need, rather than going straight to their local urgent and emergency care department. If a person needed urgent care, NHS 111 could book them into be seen quickly and safely in an A&E department.
As Covid-19 roadmap restrictions released, pressure increased on A&E and Urgent Treatment Centres across England, including those in the Humber Coast and Vale (HCV) Health and Care Partnership region. Increasingly, with demand returning to the NHS, more people were bypassing primary care to seek non-urgent treatment from their local hospital. These ‘walk-ins’ added stress on the service and its staff.
With the NHS campaign ending, the HCV programme team asked NECS to extend and amplify the campaign to 1.7million people living across the HCV region.
Working within the budget set by the programme team the NECS Communications and Engagement team was tasked with creating a campaign plan that extended and enlarged the government national campaign.
They had to leverage the reach of acute providers and HCV partners to deliver the message to the public and meet the specific communication needs of healthcare partners, not currently met by the national campaign
The NECS team initiated a multi-channel approach that placed key messages to targeted audiences that the national government campaign had not reached.
Over three months from March to May 2021 the team launched a social media campaign using paid-for and organic Facebook posts targeted at specific adult age groups living in six CCG areas serving the region.
Stakeholders in health and social care were briefed in advance and a communications toolkit was issued allowing partners to post their own messages via social media channels. Trusts most impacted were encouraged to launch their own campaigns. In one case, a clinician posted a personal blog urging parents with children requiring non-emergency treatment to consider using the 111 First service to avoid adding to the pressure on A&E. The social media campaign was backed up by a press campaign that went above and beyond the initial government campaign. Large press inserts were placed in all the region’s largest readership titles.
However, people attending urgent emergency care services in trusts needed to know that while care was available, they should use NHS 111 in the future to help decide on the best course of action if they or their family have a non-life-threatening health concern.
The NECS team set up a logistics unit to produce and distribute promotional materials such as pull-up banners and posters to health and care partners across the region, with the focus on acute trusts. More than 30 banners and more were distributed to be placed in A&E and urgent care centres, along with large-size posters and other materials, as required by local teams.
York Press Autumn 2020
• More than 700,000 people saw the social media campaign at least once.
• It is estimated that 51,000 people, when asked, would remember seeing the advertisement within two days.
• The adverts were on screen 1.8 million times. 3,500 people engaged with the campaign by liking, commenting, or sharing and the link to 111 was clicked 12,000 times.
• The press advert was placed in 12 titles across the region allowing 150,000 people the opportunity to see the message.
Read the full case study here: 111 First Campaign – Humber Coast and Vale