The State of NHS Communications

A lack of diversity and the deteriorating reputation of the NHS are key concerns for communications leaders according to a new report published today. The State of NHS Communications report, by NHS Confederation, NHS Providers and the Centre for Health Communications Research not only investigates the challenges many NHS comms leaders have faced over the last year but also their concerns about protecting and enhancing the NHS’ reputation over the year ahead.

The state of the NHS is always a key topic of conversation among the public, politicians and media alike, but in an election year it is particularly important.

Whilst many people are increasingly concerned about the state of the NHS, for others it is still a source of national pride. What’s true is that everyone has an opinion, particularly politicians, and NHS organisations need fully resourced communications teams.

This means that NHS communicators, charged with protecting and enhancing the reputation of their organisations, have a significant responsibility. However, as these findings make clear, it’s a task that is increasingly challenging, with stretched resources and squeezed budgets and frustratingly, continuing perceptions that comms isn’t as important as other NHS management functions.

The report demonstrates that there is a need for better understanding within NHS boards and management of the importance of NHS comms teams and for continued investment. Until that change happens, communications leaders will need to think carefully and creatively and consider seeking external support when required. As well as embracing AI and other new technologies, this could include more integrated working with other regional healthcare teams, creating assets that can be shared and tailored and fully maximizing all available comms channels. Effective communications doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does need to be strategic and respected by senior NHS leaders.

To find out more, read the report, sponsored by Grayling, here.