Communications Strategy by ru5JOG



                 January 2003


1.0    Introduction                                3

2.0    The strategic vision                        4

3.0    Creating a communications culture           5

4.0    Two-way communications processes            6

5.0    The role of the Communications Department   9

       5.1   PR opportunities                      9
       5.2   Key audiences                         9
       5.3   Methods of communication              10
       5.4   Internal communications               10
       5.5   External communications               12
       5.6   Crisis management                     15
       5.7   Visual identity                       16
       5.8   Priorities for the future             17

6.0    Team Brief                                  18

7.0    Information technology                      20

8.0    Research, education, development            23

9.0    Clinical governance                         26

10.0   Communicating locally – a model             27

11.0   Conclusions                                 29

       Appendices                                  30

1.0 Introduction

Doncaster & South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust is a complex and dynamic
organisation and the Trust Board has identified effective communications as a
key element in helping us develop services fit for the twenty-first century.

Good communications, both internally between staff, and externally with the
wider public are absolutely critical during times of change. As well as the
changes introduced by successive governments, we must continue to develop
and modernise our services from within, in an ongoing programme for improving
patient care.

Staff, patients, carers and all our partners need to be informed:

      Why these changes are taking place
      How the changes might affect the way they do their jobs, the services they
       receive, or their relationship with the Trust
      What they can do to help
      What structures and mechanisms are in place to help them communicate
       and manage these changes.

This document has been produced to explain the existing communications
functions, how we can work together to achieve good communications and why
this is important in helping the Trust achieve its corporate vision. As a
consequence of the feedback from the Your Opinion Counts staff survey the
Communications Department was asked to look at a number of areas. These
have been addressed in the parts of the document to which they relate.

2.0 The strategic vision
The Trust has developed a clear corporate vision, which is defined by eight long
term strategic objectives. These are given below.

The Trust is dedicated to:

      Putting the patient at the centre of service provision
      Providing high quality, best value, healthcare services for all
      Continuous improvement and modernisation – responding quickly and
       effectively to the government’s agenda for change
      Promoting social inclusion and fighting discrimination for people with
       mental health problems and learning disabilities
      Working closely with its partners in health and social care
      Adopting a community approach to all aspects of service provision
      Encouraging access and promoting choice
      Making a difference

The Trust’s ability to deliver these objectives is an obvious and immediate
measure of its success as a provider of healthcare services. Developing good
communications with our colleagues and partners in care is a key element in
helping the Trust achieve its strategic vision (see Appendix A).

3.0 Creating a communications culture

The main objective of this strategy is to encourage and support good
communications practice, specifically to develop mutual co-operation, the
exchange of ideas, views and information both internally and externally. Only by
adopting a ‘communications culture’ can we hope to understand, promote and
deliver the objectives of the strategic vision.

While the Trust continues to invest heavily in developing communication
systems, procedures and support services, ultimately it is the responsibility of
each and every staff member to establish and maintain effective communication
with colleagues and healthcare partners.

To this end, managers should be responsible for fostering good communications
within, to and from his or her department. This includes the encouragement of
views and ideas within the group and passing them to the appropriate person.
The timely and consistent delivery of Team Brief, the Trust’s primary medium for
internal communications, is absolutely central to effective internal

While good communications is the responsibility of every staff member, the Trust
Board is ultimately responsible for ensuring good communication by establishing
policy and monitoring and reviewing its effectiveness.

4.0 Two-way communications processes

The Trust must develop communications mechanisms that will allow
management to disseminate key strategic messages to staff and at the same
time enable staff to feed back their concerns.

Two-way communications should also be encouraged with external audiences,
particularly service users and carers. Only by hearing and responding to their
concerns can the Trust expect to develop more responsive, patient-focused

A number of mechanisms are in place or will be developed to facilitate more
effective two-way communications. The Trust is committed to using simple
language that everyone can understand and a new code of conduct leaflet that
encourages clarity and openness in communication will soon be available.

4.1    Team Brief

Staff will meet with their immediate line manager on a monthly basis to share the
Chief Executive’s Team Brief. These regular face-to-face meetings provide staff
with the opportunity to air their views. Equally, managers have a responsibility to
feedback staff concerns to heads of service and directors; and provide answers
to any queries raised.

The team briefing process is described in full in Section 6.0

4.2    Rumour busting

It is important that any inaccurate or damaging rumours about the business of the
Trust, which may circulate in any area of the Trust, are quashed as early as
possible to prevent ill feeling and low morale among staff. The staff survey
indicated a need for this kind of service and so the Trust will therefore operate a
pro-active approach to ‘rumour-busting’, which will attempt to address such

Employees will be encouraged to feed back any rumours or gossip they may
have heard to their manager or a Director of the Trust. If staff are concerned
about approaching a line manager they may approach the Chairman or a Non
Executive Director (contact details can be found in Appendix E). A member of
staff from the Communications Department will be available to support the
manager or Director, to either confirm or refute the rumour and provide any
details that may be relevant to the query. If requested by the employee(s)
concerned, the service will be confidential and anonymous.

Staff may feed into the ‘rumour-busting’ system in a number of ways:

         Through their line manager or Head of Department
         By contacting a member of the Communications Department either by
          mail, telephone, e-mail or in person
         By submitting their query through the Trust Intranet
         By submitting their query to the ‘Heard a Rumour?’ feature in the bi-
          monthly ‘Trust News’ magazine
         Through one of the weekly ward-level meetings with directors,
          communications staff, managers and other members of staff
         Through a Non Executive Director of the Trust

Managers and Directors should respond to rumours within three working days
and the response posted on the Intranet.

4.2       Intranet

The Trust Intranet (sections 5.4.3 and 7.2) will be developed to provide staff with
an online facility to air their views.

4.3       Your opinion counts

For both internal and external audiences, the ‘Your opinion counts’ scheme,
managed by the Trust’s Clinical Governance Development Department, has
operated successfully for a number of years. This provides useful feedback from
staff, service users and carers, which can be used to implement change and
improve services.

4.4       Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Complementing the ‘Your opinion counts scheme’, the Clinical Governance
Development Department has developed and now operates a patient advice and
liaison service (PALS). PALS provides another means for patients and carers to
feed back their experiences, positive or negative, of Trust services.

4.5       Trust Website

An electronic version of ‘Your opinion counts’ and information about PALS will be
placed on the Trust Website (section 7.1) so that service users, carers, staff and
the general public can air their views online.

4.6   Staff Roadshows

In response to suggestions from the recent staff survey, regular staff roadshows
are now held across the Trust to give staff the opportunity to discuss their views
with senior management.

5.0 The role of the Communications Department
The Communications Department is responsible for producing a pro-active and
targeted public relations and communications programme, designed to reinforce
a positive image for the Trust amongst key stakeholders. This involves
communicating on a regular and timely basis with a wide range of internal and
external audiences (see 5.2).

However, it is also a medium for helping all staff become more effective
communicators of the strategic direction and corporate vision. By raising
informed awareness within the Trust, the Communications Department can help
staff to deliver key messages to external audiences via their daily working and
social contacts.

5.1       PR opportunities

One of the main features of the department’s work is the sourcing of newsworthy
stories internally, that can be used to promote the Trust to external audiences.
Such PR opportunities may include:

         Major capital investment – building new patient facilities
         New service developments – patient benefits
         Senior / strategic appointments
         Staff achievements – training, innovative practice, fundraising
         Partnership working – health community, voluntary sector, schools
         Opening ceremonies and open days
         Responding to patient needs
         New technology

5.2       Key audiences

The department communicates with the following key audiences or publics on an
ongoing basis:

         Trust staff at all levels and locations across the organisation
         Patients, their carers, friends and relatives
         Local communities
         Partners, including the NHS Executive, partner trusts, strategic health
          authorities, local authorities, GPs, the voluntary sector (see Appendix A)
         The general public
         The print and broadcast media (see Appendix B)

5.3       Methods of communication

The department employs various media to communicate key messages to the
identified audiences:

         Media relations. The sourcing, writing and placement of press releases
          and news stories in the local, regional, national, professional, medical,
          nursing print and broadcast media. Organising interviews and press
         Advertising or paid editorial
         Literature production, including staff newsletters, corporate brochures,
          briefing papers and patient information
         Electronic media; the Internet and Intranet; email
         Public meetings and consultation
         Developing partnership agreements
         Public exhibitions, displays and conferences
         Public events

5.4       Internal communications

The department is responsible for specific aspects of communication within the
Trust. The level and quality of internal communications are key factors to
efficiency, effectiveness and job satisfaction. In addition, all communication with
staff should adhere to the principles, be credible, open, honest, two-way and
timely. As a result of feedback from the staff survey the Communications
Department will aim to increase awareness of current Trust initiatives through
Team Brief, Trust News and the Intranet.

5.4.1 Chief Executive’s Team Brief

The department produces the Chief Executive’s Team Brief, which has been
introduced to disseminate information to all employees on a regular and timely
basis. By passing on relevant information from Board level, staff are kept
informed on all relevant issues.

Further information on procedures, timescales and responsibilities for the
effective delivery of Team Brief are given under section 6.0.

5.4.2     Trust News

The Communications Department produces a staff magazine – Trust News - on a
bi-monthly basis; and is responsible for its distribution Trust wide. The
department works closely with Design and Print Services to look at ways of
continually improving the visual style of the newsletter.

Trust News is used as a primary medium for informing staff of key strategic
issues and reporting on staff and patient achievements.

Typically each edition should include:

      Keynote address from the Chief Executive
      New service developments
      Staff achievements – educational, vocational, recreational, fundraising
      News from our partners
      Senior appointments / retirements
      Calendar of key events
      RED Centre activities

5.4.3 The Intranet

The Communications Department will take the lead with the Information
Technology Department to develop a comprehensive Intranet facility for staff
(see section 7.2).

The Intranet will allow immediate dissemination of information and will also be
useful for sharing of evidence-based practice in line with the Trust’s clinical
governance policies and for training purposes.

Still in its early stages of development, the Intranet will include:
     Team Brief                                   • Job vacancies
     Trust News                                   • Departmental information
     News bulletins                               • Press releases
     Trust telephone directory                    • Policy manuals

5.4.4 Press cutting service

The department will produce and issue ‘Press Cuts’ every month. This will
include clippings generated directly by the Trust’s media relations campaign, as
well as press coverage of broader, health-related issues.

Trust research has shown that ‘Press Cuts’ is a useful internal communications
tool, as it provides staff with the evidence that their work is both recognised and
valued by the wider public. ‘Press Cuts’ also encourages staff to come forward
with their own ideas for news stories, which can be used to promote the Trust.

5.4.5 External circulation of correspondence

The Communications Department will offer a proof reading service for any
documentation which is to be circulated to over 50 recipients of which a
significant proportion are external to the Trust. This is to encourage a
consistency of message to external organisations and bodies receiving
correspondence from the Trust and will be reviewed after six months of

5.5 External communications

External communications, like the internal processes, need to be credible, open,
two-way and timely.

5.5.1 Press relations

The media can be used to inform the general public, including all the audiences
listed above, of the positive work and achievements of the Trust. Our
organisation is not only a major employer in the region, but its services have a
very real impact on the local community. Therefore the local media has a natural
and very keen interest in the Trust’s activities.

From time to time, bad news will dominate the news agenda. However, with
close and regular liaison with the media, the Trust will aim to counteract negative
publicity by implementing a pro-active PR campaign, emphasising the many
positive aspects of the Trust’s performance.

The Public Relations Manager will take the lead on all press and media relations
activities, specifically:

      Develop a network of contacts throughout the Trust who are encouraged
       to identify good news items from their department
      Aim to write and issue at least six positive news releases each month
      Liaise regularly with news desks throughout the media organisations
       regarding media coverage of the Trust
      Act as initial media contact and spokesperson for the Trust
      Implement the major incident plan media policy, if necessary (see 5.6)
      Identify media spokespeople for each service or department and if
       appropriate, provide media handling skills training and awareness
      Monitor the local media and provide feedback on the media coverage of
       the Trust’s activities

All media enquiries should be referred initially to the Public Relations Manager to
encourage a corporate response.


The Public Relations Manager will be responsible for the monthly production and
Trust-wide distribution of ‘Press Cuts’

5.5.2 The health community

In their normal course of duty, individual staff members will have regular dialogue
with the NHS Executive, health authorities, social services, partner trusts etc.

In addition, the Public Relations Manager will liaise with appropriate PR contacts
within such partner agencies, concerning media issues. He/she, or a nominated
deputy will also regularly attend and report back on:

      The Doncaster Communications Forum (Press Gang)
      Information for Healthcare Project Board for North and North East Lincs
      The South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority Regional Communications

5.5.3 Trust literature

The Communications Department will be responsible for the production and
external distribution of the charitable funds report and the patient prospectus.

External publications should adopt a user-friendly style in order to convey the
Trust’s achievements and planned developments to the widest possible
audience. Guidance on the production of literature is outlined in the Corporate
Identity Manual – volume six of the Policy Manual (see item 5.7). However, it
should be noted that the Trust is no longer required to produce an annual report
and service plan summary.

5.5.4 Patient information

In conjunction with the Clinical Governance Development Department, the
Communications Department will be responsible for the content and presentation
of written patient information. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis (see item

Any new pieces of literature should follow the corporate identity guidelines as
detailed in volume six of the Trust Policy Manual. A procedure is in place
whereby Design and Print are instructed to forward any requests for new
information leaflets to both Clinical Governance Development Department and
Communications for approval before proceeding.

5.5.5 Advertising and paid editorial

When appropriate the following approach will be taken:

      Full page advertisements in the local media to coincide with the
       publication of the annual report and service plan summary, outlining the
       year’s highlights and the Trust’s priorities for the year ahead
      Advertising in the annual Schools Supplement to the Doncaster Star

Health News

In partnership with the Doncaster Primary Care Trusts, Doncaster & Bassetlaw
Hospitals NHS Trust and the Star Newspaper Group, the Trust will produce the
award-winning ‘Health News’ every quarter. This paid editorial is distributed as a
supplement to the Doncaster Star, with extra copies available for internal

5.5.6 Public meetings

The Communications Department will help to encourage public attendance at the
monthly open Trust Board meetings. These are normally held at venues across
the community and advertised in clinics, libraries, schools and colleges
throughout the region.

Where appropriate, the department will also be responsible for publicising public
meetings. This might include, for example, public consultation meetings or
presentations on local service developments.

The Annual General Meeting is also open to the general public and the
department will be responsible for encouraging public attendance.

5.5.7 Partnership agreements

The Public Relations Manager will take responsibility for developing formal
agreements with a range of partners to help promote social inclusion for clients
with mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Foremost, under the banner of ‘Health and Sport for All’, he/she will seek to
develop ongoing relationships between local sporting organisations and
occupational therapists with a view to using facilities for the therapeutic benefit of

The partnerships will also be developed to maximise PR opportunities to the
mutual benefit of both the Trust and its partners.

5.5.8 The Trust Web site

The Public Relations Manager will be responsible for the editorial content and
visual style of the Trust Web site –

In partnership with Information Technology and Design and Print Services he/she
will review the content and format of the site; and on a monthly basis be
responsible for its update and upkeep (see section 7.1)

5.6 Crisis management

The Public Relations Manager will be the initial media contact for the Trust in the
event of negative publicity or a major incident. If media interviews are required,
the Public Relations Manager will liaise with the Director of Corporate Affairs who
will determine the most appropriate spokesperson with the Chief Executive.

Wherever possible, the Public Relations Manager will issue a prepared press
statement to the media, which will detail the Trust’s position on the particular

The statement will be prepared in close consultation with appropriate personnel,
typically head of service, senior nursing staff and/or PR contacts at partner
agencies who may be involved (police, social services etc). The statement
should also be approved by the Director of Corporate Affairs or Chief Executive
before it is issued.

The Major Incident Plan, Section 7, details the role and responsibilities of the
Public Relations Manager during a serious untoward incident. In brief, the Public
Relations Manager, the Internal Communications Manager and the
Communications Assistant will:

      Be based in the Major Incident Room (appropriate location to be decided
       at the time)
      Set up and manage a press room, to be used for briefings
      Liaise closely with all relevant public service press officers
      Hold regular press briefings explaining the Trust’s role as soon as possible
       and at regular intervals thereafter
      Instruct switchboard to divert press calls to the Public Relations Manager
       number in the Press Room
      Document all communication and actions taken

5.7 Visual identity

The Trust has adopted a common visual identity for all its activities. The
consistent application of the Trust’s identity is important when communicating
with both internal and external audiences, as it helps to reinforce the
cohesiveness, breadth and scope of the organisation.

A separate Corporate Identity Manual (volume six of the Trust Policy Manual)
provides guidelines on the application of the identity to items of stationery,
literature, signage, advertising and vehicle livery. The manual should be
consulted before producing new items of stationery or literature.

The Communications Department will take the lead on regularly reviewing
literature and stationery, to ensure that the visual identity is being applied
correctly and consistently.

In conjunction with the Clinical Governance Development Department and
appropriate clinical leads, the department will also be responsible for reviewing
patient literature and clinical/medical stationery to ensure consistency and avoid

Identity badges

The Reception at St Catherine’s House will take responsibility for the production
and issuing of identity badges for all Trust staff. It will also provide a bureau
badge-making service for the three Doncaster Primary Care Trusts.

5.8       Priorities for the future

The department has set itself some key priorities for the future, including:

         To continually monitor internal communications to assess the
          effectiveness of existing processes and make recommendations for
         To further develop the content and style of both Trust News and Team
         To develop the content and style of a comprehensive Intranet
         Developing a pro-active media relations programme in relation to the
          government’s modernisation agenda. Specifically, implementing the NHS
          Plan; the NSF for Mental Health; the three business cases for acute
          service re-provision; and the re-provision of facilities currently located at
          Loversall Hospital
         In conjunction with the Clinical Governance Development Department, to
          address the patient information requirements of the NHS Plan / PALS
          guidance, principally to publish a patient prospectus
         With closer integration of health and social care and in support of the four
          Directors of Care, to develop local communications strategies for
          Doncaster, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Rotherham
         To assist in the production of the RED Journal, a quarterly Trust Journal
          covering medical / clinical / training issues, in conjunction with Research,
          Education and Development
         To review, monitor and further develop our partnership agreements with
          local sporting organisations by establishing a formal programme of events;
          and to consider extending the scheme by establishing similar partnerships
          in North and North East Lincolnshire and in Rotherham

6.0 Team Brief
Team Brief is the most important and comprehensive medium for staff
communications across the Trust. It is based on face-to-face meetings, giving a
consistent message to everyone at all levels of the organisation. As a result of
the recent staff surveys a revision of Team Brief is to be considered by the
Executive Board.

Procedure and timescales

The Trust Board usually meets on the third Thursday of each month, and the
Internal Communications Manager produces Team Brief for approval at the
Executive Board Meeting, which meets the next day. The Internal
Communications Manager distributes the approved Team Brief to directors for
dissemination by 9.30 am on Tuesday morning at the latest.

Directors and service managers will produce their own team briefing notes, which
are used in conjunction with the Chief Executive’s notes, to brief key members of
staff. Staff members will in turn disseminate this information to all available
employees on duty within the next forty-eight hours.

Identification of team briefers

It is very important that directors, service managers and all senior staff identify
team briefers within their department who, in turn, will have nominated deputies.
Team briefers must be given the clear responsibility of keeping to the agreed
timescales; and be given strict guidance and training on how to keep to a factual
presentation of information.


Team briefing gives responsibility to directors and service managers to ensure
effective downward communication. Other team briefers within the service, ward
or department will also be given specific responsibility to ensure that they pass
on information that is timely and accurate. They must also ensure that the team
briefing notes are displayed and then filed within agreed timescales. Individual
members of staff who miss team briefing sessions are expected to familiarise
themselves with the contents of the team brief by referring to the notice board or

Notice boards

Notice boards will be identified in all areas where team briefings are given.
Immediately following the team briefing, directors and service managers will be
responsible for ensuring that the team briefing notes are posted on the notice
board for one week, before being placed in a file, accessible to all staff.


Forms will be available for staff to address questions on team briefing issues to
directors and/or service managers. They should expect a response within three
working days.

7.0 Information Technology

Information technology will play a central role in helping to deliver good
communications to both external and internal audiences. The Trust has
recognised this and is committed to developing a comprehensive IT
communications system, comprising Internet, Intranet and e mail access for all
clinical staff by April 2003.

In addition, the IT Department will provide training on the use of the Internet,
Intranet and email, in partnership with Education and Development. This will
encourage staff to make the fullest use of the new systems and help to ensure
that email and the Intranet become the primary media for internal
communications across the Trust.

7.1       Trust Web site

The Public Relations Manager will work with the IT Department who will be
responsible for the maintenance and update of the Trust Web site:


The Website will contain a wide range of public information including:

         a review and directory of services
         performance indicators
         patient information, including ‘Your opinion counts’
         vacancies
         site maps
         press releases
         details of the Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS)

The Website will be developed as an important medium for gathering the input
and views of service users and carers via the PALS and ‘Your opinion counts’
pages. The public will be able to comment on-line about the services they

It will also contain links to Websites of the Trust’s partners in the local health
communities served and in the voluntary sector.

7.2       Trust Intranet

Together with the internal email network, the Intranet will be developed as a two-
way communications medium for both disseminating important ‘corporate’
messages from management out to staff; and for providing a feedback facility so
that management can become more aware of staff concerns.

Still in development, the Intranet will provide a similar range of information to that
posted on the Website. It will contain:

         Team Brief
         Trust News
         RED Journal
         Clinical Governance reports
         Range of stationery templates
         On-line telephone directory
         Bulletin Board to enable staff input on matters of policy strategy and care
         Links to key NHS web sites
         Education and research portal to relevant national and international web

The Trust Internet and Intranet sites will be managed through the Internet
Editorial Group. This group will be responsible for developing the site as an
effective communications, education, training and research. Further, it will also
act as an advisory group on matters pertaining to e learning.

Membership will include:

                            Public Relations Manager (Chair)

                            Head of Education and Research

                            One additional staff member from the RED Centre,
                            nominated by the Head of Education and Research

                            The Intranet/Internet site web master

                            One representative from the Facilities Department
                            Graphics unit.

This will be a working group and will meet monthly.

7.3    Electronic mail

The IT Department will be responsible for developing an electronic mail system
that will enable all staff to communicate internally with any other staff member
and externally with partners in the health and social care community.

7.4    Electronic patient records

The IT Department will also be responsible for providing IT/communications
support, specifically for clinical staff.

The Trust will take the lead on integrated, electronic patient records across the
health communities, enabling NHS and Social Service staff to communicate
effectively and share information derived from a wide variety of sources.

8.0 Research, education, development

The Research, Education and Development (RED) Centre has a key contribution
to make in promoting good communications both externally and internally. It
provides a focus for education, training and research activities, with over 15,000
visits made to the centre to access training courses on subjects such as
resuscitation, finance, tissue viability and customer service.

The Trust has many links with further educational organisations, including joint
research, training and development programmes. Communicating effectively with
these partners and informing key audiences of our achievements in this area is
therefore an important aspect of the overall communications strategy.

The Trust’s education and development resources can also assist in the
communications process by helping to develop staff’s capacity and capability for
more effective communication.

8.1       Research

The Trust communicates on an ongoing basis with clinicians, both internally and
externally, to promote and share best practice and gain wider recognition for
research undertaken within the organisation. The current communications forums
include the following:

         The Clinical Practice Forum is chaired by the Head of Research and
          Practice Development and meets on a monthly basis. It is attended by
          clinical managers representing all services across the Trust and covers
          current clinical issues relevant to nursing and training issues around nurse
          education both pre and post registration.
         The Trust Education Council is chaired by the Director of Development
          and meets quarterly to discuss strategic issues around research education
          and development.
         The Trust Nursing Council is chaired by the Chief Nurse. This meets
          quarterly, and members are kept up to date on current issues by the Head
          of Research and Clinical Practice.
         The Research Panel is chaired by the Head of Research and Practice
          Development and meets on a quarterly basis. This is a forum for purely
          research issues and is attended by representatives from across the Trust
          at both ward level and Director level. The function of the research panel is
          to peer review internal and external research proposals and to share
          information on research activity both within the Trust and nationally.

      Scope of Clinical Policy Practice Development. As a member of this
       group, the Head of Research and Clinical Practice offers research and
       practice development advice on clinical practice policies.
      Clinical Governance Task Group. The Head of Clinical Research and
       Practice Development feeds into the quarterly clinical governance report
       and holds the evidence-based practice database.
      “Research to Practice” Conference. This annual conference gives staff the
       opportunity to present their research work to delegates from within and
       outside the Trust.

In addition, the Trust offers the following training courses and workshops:

      Introduction to research skills
      Introduction to clinical supervision
      Evidence-based practice workshop
      Learning environment managers’ workshops

The RED Journal

The RED Journal will be one of the main tools for communicating clinical /
research issues. The target audience will comprise nursing staff, PAMs and
medics across the Trust. The journal will also be distributed externally using the
Research Department’s existing list. In addition, it will be posted on the Trust
Website and Intranet.

It will be produced quarterly and will be a lively mixture of research papers,
issues-led features and broader information on clinical matters. Staff submissions
will form a large part of the total content.

A typical edition will include the following information / topics:

   Staff submissions                Notice board          Published pieces
   RED Centre information           SOVRN*                Research governance
   Clinical governance              Letters page          Courses & studentships
    (Suicides and Open Verdicts on the Rail Network)

The Trust’s research panel will act as the peer review panel for the RED Journal
and will review staff submissions. Overall editorial control will remain with the
Head of Research and Practice Development.

8.2       Education and development

As stated previously, an important feature of education and development within
the Trust is to reinforce open and effective communications by helping to develop
staff’s capacity and capability for effective communication generally.

This is achieved through the provision of a variety of services and resources

         workshops and development programmes specifically focused on
          communication skills
         sessions and modules devoted to effective communications as part of all
          larger programmes whether for clinical staff, support staff or managers
         videos, audios and open learning packages available for self study
         access to computers with internet/intranet and email training

These generic skills are then complemented by more detailed knowledge about
the Trust’s communications policies. Subsequently all relevant workshops focus
upon the Trust’s communications procedures.

Any staff member within education has, as part of their role, a responsibility to
reinforce key messages about communications, answer any queries accurately
and refer staff to the policy document or to the Communications Department as

Staff within Education also have a responsibility to ensure that feedback
regarding communication is forwarded to the Communications Department (on
an anonymous basis, if requested) thereby helping to ensure that communication
becomes more effective across the Trust as a whole.

Venues for education and development such as the Research Education
Development Centre (which has approximately 1000 to 1200 visitors per month)
also play an important part in displaying and holding copies, past and present of
all Trust literature including Trust News, Team Brief, Annual Report, Health
News, RED Journal, and the Service Plan Summary. Accordingly visitors
(internal or external to the Trust) can update themselves about the organisation
as necessary. This contributes to consistent internal communications as well as
effective public relations for external visitors.

9.0     Clinical Governance

9.1    Definitions of Clinical Governance

“A framework through which NHS organisations are accountable for improving
the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care by creating
an environment in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.”

“A first class service; quality in the NHS.”

“A mechanism by which the quality of provision of healthcare can be assessed. It
provides a controls assurance mechanism to allow the quality of care to be
monitored and valued in the same way as the financial performance.”

9.2    Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities are evolving as the benefits of empowering clinicians
to develop and improve practice are being realised.

Effective clinical leadership is essential for clinical governance and clinical risk
management. Patient involvement, feedback and information is essential for
clinical governance to be effective.

9.3    Learning from incidents

Learning from incidents, complaints or positive experience is vital in ensuring
lessons are learned. An effective system should be in place to feed back and
change practice.

An incident reporting system (IR1) is used by all staff to pick up mistakes and
near misses. Clinical supervision, education and dealing with poor performance
are all key components of the clinical governance agenda.

Minimising clinical risk is the responsibility of everyone working in the health
services, regardless of seniority and role.

“Capturing and recording information on adverse events and analysing them in
the right way, is an essential step to reducing risk to patients, as is creating the
right culture within the health organisations.”

                                   Building a safer NHS for patients (April 2001)

10.0 Communicating locally – a model
In the last year management arrangements have been changed across
Doncaster & South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust, which will help to develop
services that are more responsive to the local communities of Doncaster, North
Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and Rotherham.

At the heart of the new structures are local boards, headed by a Director of Care
and comprising a clinical director, a non-executive director, a staff member, a
user/carer member, the local heads of acute services and social care, a finance
officer and a human resources adviser.

It is vitally important that the communications function both reflects and supports
the new structures. Therefore, a model for communicating at two levels - locally
and ‘corporately’ (or Trust-wide) - is proposed and described below.

10.1   Trust-wide communications

The Communications Department will continue to be responsible for the full
range of Trust-wide internal and external communications functions as described
in sections 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 of this document.

10.1.1 Internal communications

The monthly Chief Executive’s Team Brief and Trust News , which is produced
bi-monthly, will be the prime medium for Trust-wide internal communications.
Both will contain information of interest to all Trust employees.

The Intranet will also be accessible across the Trust and will be updated on an
ongoing basis to include information as outlined in 5.4.3.

10.1.2 External communications

The Trust will be promoted to external audiences – national, regional and sub-
regional partners and media (see appendices A & B) - as a unified, corporate
whole, in the usual way.

10.2   Local communications

The Communications Department will meet on a regular (monthly), formal basis
with each Director of Care / Local Board, to provide a locally focussed PR and
communications support service.

The local communications functions will feed into the Trust-wide communications
functions. Important local messages will be delivered internally to all staff; and
externally to appropriate partners and media.

10.2.1 Internal communications

In partnership with each Director of Care, the Communications Department will
consider the production of a Local Team Brief, to be produced and delivered at
the same time as the Trust-wide Chief Executive’s Team Brief. This may cover
area-specific issues not covered in Chief Executive’s Team Brief

The Communications Department will also consider the production of a Local
Monthly Newsletter for each locality to be distributed with, or as part of Trust

The Intranet will be developed to include sections specifically for each locality.

10.2.2 External communications

By their nature, external communications tend to be targeted at local audiences
via the local media. For example, a news story featuring service developments in
North Lincolnshire will be released only to the Scunthorpe Press, unless it is of
wider significance.

This will continue to be the case. However, by establishing regular, monthly
meetings between each Director of Care and a dedicated PR lead for each area,
a more pro-active and responsive external communications function will be

In addition, given the agenda for the integration of health and social care
services, the Trust’s Communications Department will work closely with the
directors of care and appropriate communications leads within each local
authority to establish joint communications strategies to assist the integration


The communications strategy will be monitored and kept under review. It details
the specific responsibilities of the Communications Department and highlights the
role that all staff have in helping to develop effective communications.

The Trust believes that the strategy will reap rewards in terms of both promoting
its key messages and improving staff morale and job satisfaction. It is a
framework within which flexibility, informality and individual style can continue to
flourish in a growing organisation.

With effective communications, we can help to involve people, dispel rumour and
facilitate the provision of an efficient and effective service to our patients.

Appendix A:                  Principal partners

The Department of Health
NHS Executive
Department of Health and Social Care North

North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire Strategic Health Authority
South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority

Doncaster Central Primary Care Trust
Doncaster East Primary Care Trust
Doncaster West Primary Care Trust
North Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust
North East Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust
Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust
Northern Lincolnshire & Goole Hospitals NHS Trust
Rotherham Primary Care Trust
South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Services NHS Trust
Lincolnshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Doncaster Community Health Council
North Lincolnshire Community Health Council
North East Lincolnshire Community Health Council
Rotherham Community Health Council

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
North Lincolnshire Council
North East Lincolnshire Council
Rotherham Council

The Alzheimer’s Society
Doncaster Alcohol Services
Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust
Doncaster Rotary Club
Disability Doncaster
DSR Assertive Outreach
M25 Group
The MS Society
The Rotary Club of Doncaster
Rotherham & District Comforts League
The Shaw Trust
The Stroke Association
The Women’s Royal Voluntary Service

Doncaster Rovers Football Club
Doncaster Rugby Union Football Club
Schools and colleges across Doncaster, Rotherham, North and North-East Lincolnshire

Appendix B: Principal media
National            Newspapers                  The Guardian
                                                The Independent
                                                The Daily Mail
                                                The Observer
                    Broadcast                   BBC / ITV / Channel 4
                    Professional /Health        Nursing Times
                                                NHS Magazine
                                                Health Service Journal
                                                Contract Journal
                                                Health Estate Journal
                                                Pharmaceutical Journal

Regional            Newspapers                  Yorkshire Evening Post
                                                Yorkshire Post
                    Broadcast                   Calendar News
                                                Look North

Local – Doncaster
                                                Dearne Valley Weekender
                                                Doncaster Advertiser
                                                Doncaster Free Press
                                                Doncaster Star
                                                Thorne & District Gazette
                                                Thorne Times

                                                BBC Radio Sheffield
                                                Hallam FM
                                                Trax FM

Local – N Lincs                                 Axholme Herald
                                                Epworth Bells
                                                Goole, Howden & Thorne Courier
                                                Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph
                                                Scunthorpe Target

                                                Lincs FM
                                                BBC Radio Lincolnshire

Local – NE Lincs                                Grimsby Evening Telegraph

                                                Lincs FM
                                                Viking FM
                                                BBC Radio Humberside

Local - Rotherham                               Rotherham Advertiser / Record
                                                Rotherham Weekly Gazette
                                                Rotherham Star

Appendix C: Structure of Communications Department

                        CHIEF EXECUTIVE

                    DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE
                           (Bob Powell)

                                               (Ian Carpenter)

   PUBLIC RELATIONS                             INTERNAL
      MANAGER                                COMMUNICATIONS
     (Jane Stapleton)                           MANAGER
                                              (Rachel Johnson)

                          (Nicola Baynham)

Appendix D: Role outlines



JOB TITLE:                Public Relations Manager


     The Trust provides specialist mental health services to a population of
     over 880,000 across Doncaster, Rotherham, North and North East
     Lincolnshire. In addition, the Trust provides learning disability services in
     Doncaster and North East Lincolnshire, and palliative care and hospice
     services in Doncaster.

     The Public Relations Manager’s role is to:

            Formulate and execute a public relations strategy for the Trust in
             conjunction with Directors and other key staff
            Manages relationships with a wide range of agencies including the
             media in order to create a positive image of the Trust
            Initiates and sources a wide range of press articles, stories and
             such in order to create a positive profile for the organisation.


     A high profile post requiring constant contact and liaison with the media,
     partner agencies, directors, service managers and key clinicians. The
     post holder will be expected to have 2 – 3 years journalistic experience in
     the written or broadcasting media and to be self motivated and proactive
     in sourcing issues across the Trust and developing positive working
     relationships outside and inside the Trust.


          To develop positive media relations on behalf of the Trust

          To ensure the widest possible sourcing and issuing of press

          The organisation of press events

          To provide a comprehensive press cutting service

          A positive approach to community relations / partnership

          The enhancement of our current services through positive website

          Attendance at and contribution to a wide range of external events
           which involve the Trust

          To develop the role by working with other directorates, trust staff
           and clients to build consistent and meaningful relationships with the
           local media, partners, service users and carers

          To co-ordinate the publication of all external publications to ensure
           consistently high quality and availability

          To ensure the implementation of the Trust’s Communications
           Strategy as it relates to public relations


          To comply with the Trust safety instructions and policies

          To use in a proper and safe manner the equipment and facilities

          To refrain from the wilfulness use or interference with anything
           provided in the interests of health & safety and any action which
           might endanger yourself or others

          To report as soon as possible all hazards and defects to your line

          To report as soon as possible all accidents and untoward
           occurrences and to ensure accident forms are completed


    This job description is subject to periodic review and amendment in
    consultation with the post-holder in order to reflect the developing needs
    of the Trust.


JOB TITLE:                 Internal Communications Manager


      The Trust provides specialist mental health services to a population of
      over 880,000 across Doncaster, Rotherham, North and North East
      Lincolnshire. In addition the Trust provides learning disability services in
      Doncaster and North East Lincolnshire and palliative care and hospice
      services in Doncaster.

      The Internal Communications Manager will:

         Ensure that there are effective internal communications in place across
          the Trust

         Cultivate and encourage a positive corporate image across the Trust
          through a proactive approach

         Ensure the production of high quality literature design and print for
          critical reports, briefs, etc


A high profile post requiring constant contact and liaison with the media, partner
agencies, directors, service managers and key clinicians. The post holder will be
expected to have one to two years experience in internal communications and be
suitably qualified in order to carry out the responsibilities of the post.


          To ensure the production of an interesting and up to date Trust
           News on a regular timescale

          To ensure the up to date and timely production of Team Briefs

          To ensure the up to date and timely production of the Annual
           Report in a style conducive to a high quality organisation

          To ensure the highest standards are applied to other literature
           design and print items produced by the Trust and to liaise
           effectively with the appropriate departments

          To encourage and build a positive corporate image

          To oversee intranet management to ensure the best use of the
           opportunities that this offers

          To participate and lead a number of key internal events within the

          To provide a service to the Directors of Care in North Lincolnshire
           and North East Lincolnshire

          To co-ordinate the publication of all internal publications to ensure
           consistently high quality and availability

          To provide a lead in relation to corporate identity and image and
           develop appropriate links and mechanisms for effective liaison with
           Design and Print Services

          To develop the role by working with other directorates, Trust staff
           and clients to build consistent and meaningful relationships with
           local media, partners, services users and carers


             To comply with the Trust’s safety instructions and policies

             Use in a proper and safe manner the equipment and facilities

             To refrain from the wilful misuse of, or interference with, anything
              provided in the interests of health and safety and action which
              might endanger yourself or others

             To report as soon as possible all hazards and defects to your line

             To report as soon as possible all accidents and untoward
              occurrences and to ensure accident forms are completed


    This job description is subject to periodic review and amendment in
    consultation with the post holder in order to reflect the developing needs of
    the Trust.

Appendix E          Details of Non Executive Directors

Doncaster & South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust Non Executive Directors are:

Madeleine Keyworth - Chairman
Anne Dunkerley
David Miller
Alwyn Onley
Keith Vaughan
James Garton
Neil Morton

They can all be contacted via Dale Worrall, telephone 01302 796400, or write to
them c/o The Chief Executive’s Office, St Catherine’s House, Tickhill Road,
Balby, Doncaster, DN4 8QN.


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