On 5th July 2018, the National Health Service will celebrate its 70th birthday. What a milestone! As NHS England says itself, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of our country's most respected institutions.
The big birthday will provide the GP practice with the ideal chance to get the community involved in the celebrations at a local level, opening up an array of engagement and awareness-promotion possibilities.
NHS England is developing a toolkit to help NHS organisations get involved in a number of ways, with parts of it being launched this month and further elements becoming available over the next few months. In the meantime, we thought we'd take a look at a selection of the suggestions being made by NHS England, adding a few ideas of our own to help you make the most of this auspicious 'platinum anniversary'.
Community Open Days
The work your GP practice does, both inside and outside of the surgery, is worthy of applause. You know how we are always encouraging you to broadcast your efforts and achievements using the tools provided by your GP website, such as via news articles and email bulletins as well as across your social media platforms, and now you have a golden opportunity to demonstrate first-hand what you offer to the local community.
As well as reaching out to patients both existing and new, an open day is a brilliant way to engage with local partners such as charities, groups, unions and fellow NHS organisations. It's a wonderful showcase for everything from your areas of specialist expertise through to your accomplishments as a practice. All too often people will say, 'oh, I never knew you did that', and this is the perfect chance to show everyone precisely what it is you can offer.
Your open day could, as well as providing a 'tour' of your services and specialist clinics, act as a platform to show how you get involved in local community causes and events as well as providing a valuable and intriguing history lesson about how your practice and other local NHS organisations have developed over the years.
NHS organisations and local communities are being encouraged to hold an NHS Big 7Tea to celebrate the big birthday. All you have to do is invite staff, retired staff, patients, carers, volunteers, local community groups, friends and family for a cuppa and share NHS stories. Why not incorporate the Big 7Tea into your open day?
Keeping with the subject of history lessons and NHS memories, the big birthday is going to be of incredible interest to local students, so why not invite them along to dedicated educational open days that chart the history of your practice and the local NHS service over the years?
You could invite patients, staff and their families to get involved by sharing insightful stories and interesting memories dating back as far as you can go. Use social media and also your GP practice website tools to help you gather the information: publish news articles, send email newsletters and feature the call for stories on your home page. You could even incorporate the best memories into your newsletters and website news to make interesting reading for your online community.
Encourage your student visitors to share their experience on their social media platforms and give you a mention. It's all great publicity for your practice!
NHS England and NHS Improvement are supporting two major national programmes aimed at preserving NHS heritage and promoting the cultural history of the NHS. NHS 70 is collecting stories and memorabilia from patients, workers, volunteers and the public, so why not widen your educational programme and get involved?
We've already touched upon the use of social media to help you get involved in NHS 70, but there is so much more you can do using your online platforms.
Whatever events you decide to hold and however you plan to get involved, be sure to talk about it on your platforms so that everyone can find out about it. Here's a quick guide:
Firstly, follow NHS 70 on its own platforms so you can keep up with what they are doing and make use of any tips and advice they are sharing with NHS organisations. Here are the platforms you need:
You may also find these platforms useful for information and advice on NHS 70 opportunities:
2. Hashtags and Mentions
Use the #NHS70 hashtag in all your posts across whatever platforms you use. Be sure to give NHS 70 a mention by including their social 'handle' in your posts. This way they will be aware of your posts and will hopefully share them to their followers, widening the reach of your posts.
Another way of gaining valuable publicity using social media is by mentioning local newspapers or magazines in your posts. It's almost like sending a press release!
3. Publicise Events
Publicise any events you decide to hold across all your platforms. On Facebook, the best way to do this is by creating a Facebook Event; this makes the whole process straightforward and is very effective: more than 60 per cent of people discover events through their Facebook news feed. Here's how to do it.
Share everything you are doing to celebrate NHS 70 including events, memories, photographs and anything else that's useful and interesting. You can also share posts made by fellow local NHS organisations that include relevant information and of course the NHS 70 platforms themselves. Such sharing will be appreciated and will also encourage the others to share your posts too. That's how social media works!
Just a word of warning: by all means share all the stories and memories that you collect as these will create interest amongst your followers. However be sure to gain permission to quote people and use their names, and take special care with any photographs. If you don't have permission to use a photograph or you are uncertain as to who owns the copyright, it's best to avoid using it altogether.
A PLATINUM Opportunity to Get Involved!
NHS 70 will be widely publicised nationwide across all forms of media, making this the perfect opportunity to get involved in something that will get your GP practice noticed and help you reach out to the community at large.
Why not make a big splash around this auspicious celebration? If you could use some assistance, or are looking to set up a new GP practice website, why not give the team at Tree View Designs a call? Specialising in all aspects of NHS website design, we will ensure you are in the best hands.