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					Communications strategy and plan 2006-2007

Well-planned, effective communication is essential to the success of any organisation. It is
an integral element of all strategies, organisational management and engagement with
patients and the public. Through effective communications, organisations manage, motivate,
influence, explain and create conditions for change.
Hillingdon Primary Care Trust (PCT) acknowledges the importance of effective internal and
external communications in underpinning its overall corporate business, the recovery
process and its future.
A communications framework specifically relating to recovery, but involving elements
germane to good business communications and the wider, PCT corporate business,
supplements and supports this communications strategy and plan.
This corporate communications plan sets out the trust's communications priorities and how
to ensure they are in line with its business objectives and priorities.

PCT objectives
This communications plan supports the overall corporate objectives of the organisation.
These are to:
    Improve access to health and healthcare
    Develop new and innovative ways of delivering services and alternative models of care,
     particularly for those with long term conditions
    Improve the service user experience and develop the capacity of patients, carers and
     the wider public to be involved in the delivery of healthcare and managing their own
    Improve the health of the population through identifying unmet health need, reducing
     inequality and influencing the wider determinants of health
    Develop partnership working
    Build an organisation that is learning and developing
    Deliver within existing resources, ensuring best value at all times
    Deliver national programmes to enable change
    Achieve compliance with the core Healthcare Standards
This plan will help ensure the PCT presents clear messages about its purpose and role
internally and externally. This plan aims to make communicating with staff, patients, the
public and all our stakeholders integral to the work of the PCT. It sets out a programme of
work for promoting what we do, how we do it, how we inform staff and local people about our
services and organisation and how communication support patient and public involvement.

Communication goals
Effective communication is essential for all areas of the PCT. This plan supports the PCT’s
overall strategic development as well as policies affecting internal and external priorities,
plans and relationships.
This communication strategy and plan aims to:
       Ensure all communication is clear, timely and effective as possible
       Ensure everyone employed by the PCT is fully informed of all matters relevant to their
        area of work and the priorities and aims of the PCT
       Engage patients and public as well as staff and stakeholders in two-way
        communications and in decisions where appropriate
       Enable the PCT to listen to the views and concerns of interested groups
       Convey key messages simply and quickly
       Use all methods of communicating available to the trust in the most appropriate way

Tools and channels
Tools and channels are ways to deliver (and receive) messages. These need to be varied
and low maintenance. The PCT uses a variety of methods to communicate with staff and
receive information from them. The method used depends on the nature of the
communication and the audience. New methods may need to be developed. The proposed
tools and channels include:
Internal                                             External
   Staff magazine/newsletter                          Trust board meetings
   Trust board meetings                               Variety of trust publications (including
   Email                                                annual report, guide to services)
   Core briefs                                        Attendance at meetings and forums

   Notice boards in all locations                     Leaflets, posters and other materials

   Intranet                                             produced by the PCT
   Pay roll attachments                               Website

   Staff award/celebrate success                      Participation in events

     scheme(s)                                         Media

   Management briefings/meetings                      Other publications produced in the
   Staff meetings (for example, shaping                 borough in print and online (for
     the future, team briefers meetings)                 example, local authority publications,
   Annual staff surveys using feedback
     to improve communications                         Engagement, surveys and feedback
                                                         (using a variety of methods).

Internal communications
Hillingdon PCT’s internal communication’s vision is to create an environment in which staff
feel informed, support the PCT’s values and understand the part they play in the
We will do this by giving people the information they need to do their job, developing
effective communication channels, building a climate of trust and openness and involving
people in the communications process.
Our internal communications aims to build strong leadership, energise all staff, promote
culture change and celebrate success and good practice.

2                     Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
External communications
Press and media
While Hillingdon may not have a wide selection of local press, it does offer a wealth of
opportunities to tap into local press and media. The main media for the area which have
most relevance to the parenting communications strategy are:
       Gazette (four editions; paid; sister free publication; distributed weekly)
       Hillingdon Times (free publication distributed weekly)
       Asian Voice (pan-London weekly newspaper; publishes health supplements the PCT
        contributes to on a regular basis)
       Hayes FM radio (Hayes area only)
       Hillingdon People: local authority magazine (six issues a year)
       Local authority internal publications (for example, Key Issues for council members)
       Children’s Information Service publications (three issues a year)
       Sunshine Magazine (three issues a year)
       NetMums (online only)
       Voluntary sector publications (for example, Hillingdon Carers, HAVS)
The aim is to work with all publications to ensure consistent messages and positive stories
highlighting PCT developments, achievements, key messages and services are offered and
to highlight the accomplishments of individuals, teams and the PCT as a whole

Partners and relationships
Building and developing partnership throughout the borough is an essential part of the PCT’s
communication strategy. We will continue to work closely with our key partners in the public,
voluntary and charity sectors. We will continue to develop joint working and, where possible,
joint publications and distribution of important information for local residents.
Communications will also continue to develop joint working with local strategic partners — in
particular the local authority and Metropolitan Police.

Events are an excellent way to engage with patients, the public and others to hear firsthand
about what people think about our services. In particular the PALS team supports
communications as many events. Face-to-face contact with the public is essential in
promoting any service and helps raise awareness as well as motivating those involved in
programmes or services. It also often attracts media attention.
There are numerous events, particularly in the summer months, which the PCT is involved
with, providing goody bags or manning a stall/information stand. In addition many events are
organised and run by health visitors, school nurses and other healthcare professionals are
given as much communications support as possible.
A calendar of events and key meetings/forums is being developed to ensure consistent and
appropriate attendance and/or participation by the PCT.

Website and online information
It is important to have an online presence, although this cannot be seen in isolation or as a
substitute for other activities, particularly the provision of hard-copy information in a variety
of formats (and possibly languages).

3                     Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
The PCT website has gone through an initial development phase and is being strengthened.
Important information about services is already provided and various services and
departments are helping to expand more general information to the public, particularly in the
“help yourself” and “have your say” areas. More development is planned, specifically
addressing who is responsible for providing consistent, accurate and timely information.
In addition, the staff intranet is being developed to enable this important electronic resource
to be used to better effect by the entire staff. Development of the intranet will be over a 12
month period.

Hillingdon PCT has its own brand identity. The “Hillingdon PCT style” reflects the unity and
strength of the trust and consistent values. Professionally designed templates give a clear
and consistent image to all publications and information and provide simple guides so that
time can be spent making sure the contents (the words) are appropriate. These templates
should be used for all presentations as well as information produced.

It is important that information in different formats is distributed as widely as possible
throughout the borough and that there is a consistent and continuous stream of information
over a period of time. Some of the distribution channels used by the PCT include:

     GP practices                                        Schools
   PCT clinics                                           Libraries
   Pharmacies                                            Voluntary organisations (for example,
   Opticians                                                Asian Women’s Health Group, Age
   Dental practices                                         Concern, Hillingdon Carers)
   Sheltered housing
This is not an exhaustive list. A marketing/contacts database is being developed to be used
in a variety of ways and as principle list for distribution.

Measurement and feedback
A variety of methods will be used to gather information, measure it and feedback to staff,
patients and the public as well as key partners. Some of the ways to collect opinions,
responses, comments and ideas are through online surveys, feed-back at meetings and use
of the patient experience tracker electronic capture devices.
It is important to demonstrate the PCT listens to comments and suggestions from patients
and the public. Equally, it is important that the changes we make because of patient/public
comment is communicated and reported back in the most appropriate way.

Duties and priorities
There are many demands on communications, many of which involve not only the PCT’s
own objectives but those of the London Strategic Health Authority, Department of Health and
NHS in general. Some of the duties covered by communications for Hillingdon PCT include:
       Production and publication of the PCT’s annual report, annual public health report and
        annual guide to services

4                     Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
       Production and distribution of leaflets, posters and other information materials specific
        to the PCT or provided by other appropriate organisations including NHS organisations,
        the PCT’s partners and the Department of Health that provide relevant and necessary
        information about services and other relevant concerns to patients and the public as
        well as internally for staff.
       Communicate and distribute information and/or materials as instructed by the London
        Strategic Health Authority, Department and Health and other relevant NHS
        organisations and programmes (for example, Connecting for Health, Patient Choice)
       Supporting and ensuring appropriate PCT participation in local events (for example by
        the voluntary sector, local authority) or organised by PCT staff
       Supporting and working with PCT groups and committees to ensure appropriate and
        effective communications and public engagement, including, where necessary,
        consultation in a variety of areas (for example, patient and public involvement, equality
        and diversity)
       Promoting and improving partnership working as appropriate, particularly within the
        local voluntary and charity sectors, local authority and local strategic partnership
        (Hillingdon People)
       Developing ways to ensure that hard to reach groups, ethnic minorities and those with
        any disabilities have appropriate communication and information to enable them to
        access health services on an equal basis with others in the borough.
       Provide and advise where necessary on the translation of PCT service information,
        including other formats
       Ensuring the PCT public website(s) and internal staff intranet as are used as effective
        and efficient communication tools
       Developing and advising senior management and the board on the most appropriate
        and useful staff and public communications, including media relations
       Carrying out communication responsibilities devolved to PCTs on national and regional
        campaigns (for example, flu, heatwave, keep well, keep warm and others)
       Performing and achieving any communication responsibilities or duties appropriate to or
        required by the PCT in support of national programmes and policies (for example,
        Patient Choice; Our Health, Our Care, Our Say
       Ensuring the PCT’s communications plans for major accident and emergency
        situations, including such concerns as pandemic flu, are robust, effective and flexible.

Work plan for 2006-2007
The following work programme outlines the main actions that support the general
communication strategy and priorities reflected in the PCT’s objectives. This plan should be
read together with the communications framework and work plan for recovery as well as the
individual communication plans for the projects supporting recovery.

5                      Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
Work plan 2006-2007

What needs to be done               How it should develop                                                                  Time scale
Press and media
Strengthen and consolidate          Work together with the editors and editorial teams of local newspapers to build        Continuous
existing links with the two main    stronger relations and offer a relevant and appropriate articles/features for
local newspapers                    publication and/or supply with interview opportunities, news stories and/or press
                                    releases as appropriate
                                    Organise where appropriate interviews, meetings and tours of facilities (existing or
                                    Meet with responsible editors/journalists on a regular basis
Strengthening communications with hard to reach groups and ethnic minorities
Engage the Asian newspapers         Identify and make initial contact with relevant editors/journalists                    Exploratory Sept-Oct
and magazines that are widely       Explore what kind of information Asian publications may need or want and establish     2006 then continuous
read by the Asian community in      best contact(s) within each publication and how best to provide them with news and
Hillingdon                          feature items
                                    Organise where appropriate interviews, meetings and tours of facilities (existing or
                                    Contact responsible editors/journalists on a regular basis
Work with the Asian radio           Make initial contact and explore how we might work together to produce                 Exploratory Sept-Oct
stations listened to by the Asian   programmes about appropriate PCT policies, services and priorities, including          2006 then continuous
community in Hillingdon             recovery.
                                    Identify key journalists, establish contact and determine how best to meet their
                                    information needs within the priorities and objectives of the PCT
                                    Provide information on a timely basis
                                    Organise where appropriate interviews, meetings and tours of facilities (existing or
                                    Meet with responsible editors/journalists on a regular basis

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Work with the Hayes and           Hayes FM was founded as a community project in 2001 and first broadcast on a            Exploratory Sept-Oct
Harlington radio station: Hayes   trial basis for one month in 2004 with significant input from PCT.                      2006 then continuous
FM (launched March 2007)          Discuss with editor/journalists station information needs and discuss possible
                                  programmes and packages in which PCT participation would be appropriate
                                  Meet with responsible producers/journalists on a regular basis
Work with other minority and      Develop a database of contacts                                                          Exploratory Sept-Nov
ethnic groups in the borough      Determine information needs                                                             2006 then continuous
(including religious groups) to   Build and improve contacts with appropriate organisations to ensure information
improve communication overall     needs are being met adequately and appropriately by the PCT
and provide more targeted and
                                  Work, where appropriate with local partners (local authority, voluntary or others) to
useful information
                                  produce relevant and culturally sensitive health information
                                  For information published, monitor to ensure that it is being distributed and used as
                                  effectively as possible and if not determine how to rectify the situation
                                  Explore alternative ways to engage with these communities and groups
                                  Determine if translation of information is needed, what languages and develop
                                  ways to achieve appropriate alternative language materials for best value either
                                  internally using
Patient and public involvement
Development of existing           Explore development of current website, putting into place robust way of updating       Initial Sept-Dec 2006
website                           information.                                                                            and then continuous
                                  Put into place a sustainable editorial process to ensure quality content updated on
                                  a regular basis
                                  Explore ways to improve contents (particularly through feedback from partners,
                                  voluntary sector and staff)
Other websites related to PCT:    Determine content needs and responsibilities for inputting and keeping information      Initially Sept-Dec 2006; NHS Direct and any       up to date                                                                              Continuous
other NHS information website     Determine how communications can support these processes
                                  Ensure staff and others who should or do use these websites are aware of
                                  information contained therein and of how to ensure timely, accurate updating

7                  Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
Increase engagement with the       Work closely with UNITE, the PCT’s umbrella group monitoring PPI throughout the       Initially Sept-Dec 2006
public through more frequent       organisation                                                                          scoping
and varied surveys/questioning     Work with all users of the patient experience tracker (PET) to ensure appropriate     Continuous
and/or engagement of the           and timely feedback of results to patients and the public
public, patients, service users    Explore other ways communications can support appropriate engagement with and
and carers                         communication with patients and the public
Increase and support PCT           Develop a diary/events calendar of outside and internal events where the PCT is       Aug-October 2006
engagement with the public         taking part
through public events and          Develop guidelines for PCT staff participation in events
established meetings (including    Develop guidelines for PCT staff participation in meetings
forums, ie older peoples,
                                   Determine communication support needed for each event and/or meeting
connecting communities, et al)
                                   Provide adequate communication support, guidance to staff in order to take part in    Continuous
Partnership working
Develop better partnership         Discuss in more concrete terms with all interested partners how and where we can
working with other members of      co-operate most effectively and efficiently on communications (joint) including co-
the health economy (Hillingdon     operating on events and other activities to promote appropriate use and
Hospital, social services,         understanding of primary care services, support of national NHS campaigns
voluntary sector, local business   Maintain contact with organisations and others on a regular basis to determine
community, Brunel University       more effective and efficient ways to co-operate on production of information for
and Uxbridge College)              public/service users

Maintain and develop (new)         Maintain contact with organisations and others on a regular basis and work            Continuous
contacts with appropriate          together where necessary
communication leads in other
partner organisations (ie local
authority, Met Police, others)

8                   Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
National, regional and local communications
Choose and Book, Patient         Supporting and ensuring appropriate communication support and involvement in           Continuous
Choice, Connecting for Health,   any existing or new national initiatives with local project plans and implementation
Our Health, Our Care, Our Say,   including participation in workshops and other communication meetings relevant to
Practice-based commissioning,    the projects or campaigns
Patient-led NHS and others
Seasonal campaigns and           Ensure appropriate communication support for seasonal campaigns such as         Continuous
others                           heatwave, keep well, keep warm and any other one-off campaigns that require PCT
                                 communications support
Relations with London SHA,       Attendance at communication meetings and participation in relevant sub-                Continuous
other PCTs and NHS               groups/committees
organisations in area            Play a full and active role in any discussions or planning where appropriate on a
                                 sector, regional or national basis
Pandemic flu                     Continue to work with public health as well as London and national communication       Continuous
                                 groups to ensure the trust has a robust and appropriate communication plan
Internal communication needs
Communication workshops          Develop together with learning and development a series of one-hour                    Sept-Oct 2006 begin
                                 workshop/seminars for staff (and possibly extend to GP practices) on such topics       developing the
                                 as marketing, promotion and events, good writing, presentations, writing and           programme for the
                                 printing leaflets.                                                                     workshop/seminar in
                                                                                                                        consultation with
                                                                                                                        learning and
                                                                                                                        development for
                                                                                                                        second half of 2006
                                                                                                                        and 2007
                                                                                                                        Agree timetable
                                                                                                                        Publicise seminars
                                                                                                                        Hold seminars

9                 Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
Support CEO, senior managers      Ensure communications manager is informed of any public speeches, appearances            Continuous
(management team) and board       or events where communication or public relations support is needed
in public relations/media areas   Develop guidelines to support staff in public engagement
                                  Ensure communications manager is informed of any articles written by PCT
                                  individuals and that copies of the published articles are given to the
                                  communications manager for distribution, circulation or appropriate public relations
                                  Ensure the press and media guidelines are understood and used by all staff
                                  Provide where appropriate or requested media advice and/or training
Develop and maintain a photo      The PCT has developed a substantial library of photos that can be used in a variety      Continuous
library                           of publications and for use by the press and media (and other partner
                                  Code and key word photos
                                  Maintain secure records of model release forms
                                  Add to the photo library
Develop and maintain film         Develop use of film where appropriate for use on website, in presentations and in        Continuous
library                           production of CD/DVDs where cost effective and appropriate

Produce statutory publications    Annual report and guide to services are produced yearly                                  Yearly as required
Deal with one-off and crisis      React in the appropriate manner to any major incidents or emergencies. This could        Occasional
management issues                 involve something as simple as a press release or more involvement over several
                                  days, press conferences and other activities
Support the communications        Talk with the director of public health to determine what are the specific publication   Annual public health
and public relations needs of     needs of the department and to look at how we can better publicise and make              report
the public health department      available the information being produced (or planned) by the department
                                  Explore how various partners may be involved in this work
                                  Explore possible areas of funding
                                  Support any public relation needs
                                  Help plan any events and publicity that may be needed

10                  Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007
Write and distribute press        Continue to produce appropriate press statements and releases and distribute to        Continuous
releases/statements               relevant media as well as post on public website
Internal publications: staff      Produce an appropriate internal staff newsletter within an agreed budget and           Continuous
magazine, core briefs, intranet   production schedule
                                  Support the CEO and any other group in writing appropriate core briefs
                                  Develop as far as possible appropriate content of the intranet, use of this resource
                                  and promotion of its use

11                  Communications Strategy and Plan 2006-2007