Healthcare: On the Agenda - NHS report rates local services

- In a nutshell

The Healthcare Commission issued its annual report on the performance of NHS trusts last week. The report enables the public to see how their local health services fare against others across the country. This in turn helps them to choose which hospital they want to go to for planned treatment, as part of the Government's Patient Choice agenda.

- Any new elements?

This year the Healthcare Commission's updated website features a postcode checker that allows members of the public to go online and easily access the information. In the past the public would have had to search through the report.

- Media coverage

The story made the front page of The Daily Telegraph and merited a full page article in The Guardian. It also featured on BBC Radio 4's Today and BBC Breakfast.

- PR support

This year Bell Pottinger was brought in to help the Healthcare Commission extend its reach and encourage more general interest from the public. It was also charged with ensuring the public understand why this report was important and relevant to them.

- What did Bell Pottinger do?

In order to promote the postcode checker as an online tool, the agency produced two short films that could be accessed online telling people about the report, and a case study of a trust that had transformed itself. The Healthcare Commission's in-house team handled the rest of the media activity.

42 - Number of trusts that received a score of 'excellent'

6 - Number of trusts that received a score of 'weak'.

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