Communicating the NHS Long Term Plan to the public is vital for its success

We fully support the call to action for the NHS locally that their implementation plans must be developed with input from the public, patients and, crucially, the people who work on the frontline.

An open letter from the CIPR Health Group (L-R): Emma Leech, Sarah Pinch and Rachel Royall
An open letter from the CIPR Health Group (L-R): Emma Leech, Sarah Pinch and Rachel Royall

There need to be consistent, open and transparent conversations that help to drive improvement and address the real issues that affect our communities.

Only together can we develop local plans and a joint commitment to delivering the ambitious vision.

As the chartered body for public relations and the largest membership organisation for PR professionals in Europe, we are keen to highlight the wealth of expertise and support available to healthcare leaders and local health boards.

Public relations is all about relationships with the public, and we urge health leaders to involve their communication teams from the beginning in the development of their plans.

Last year the NHS turned 70 and this milestone was a chance to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.

The NHS remains one of the most trusted institutions in the UK, and much of its credibility comes from the humanity and professionalism of its staff.

PR professionals, including excellent internal communication professionals, remain critical in recruiting, retaining and encouraging the return of all those who work so hard on the frontline, who interact with the public every day.

The prevention agenda has long relied on communications and the effective use of PR to challenge and encourage behaviour change across all members of our local communities.

The work delivered by your communications and PR teams should be valued, and truly be at the heart of the planning, implementation and delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

CIPR Health Group

This is shown in the plan through the collaborative and collective way in which NHS, third sector and local authorities are being asked to work together, and we wholeheartedly support this.

There is a need for strong communications and marketing to drive behaviour change, instilling belief in the messages and confidence that any changes will be impactful and feel real for people.

We are pleased that the Long Term Plan identifies the importance of communications and engagement, as well as understanding the value of NHS PR professionals that deliver this.

As a group we would particularly value consideration to be given to non-communications leaders who will be shaping and driving the development of the plans.

The CIPR Health Group asks that the importance of communications and engagement is not underestimated.

The work delivered by your communications and PR teams should be valued, and truly be at the heart of the planning, implementation and delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

We would ask that you consider greater support and resources for their professional development to be an investment that directly supports the delivery of the Long Term Plan.

Communications professionals are essential to protect trust and respect in the NHS.

We encourage you all to bring this Long Term Plan to life, painting a vision of an NHS fit for the future and so making that vision a reality.

CIPR Health Group members: Emma Leech, CIPR president, Rachel Royall, director of comms at NHS Digital and Sarah Pinch, MD of Pinch Point Communications


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