I have been working with the communications team at NELFT for the past two weeks, on a placement from my usual role as Strategic Communications Manager at NHS England and NHS Improvement. It’s been a great two weeks getting to know the comms team, who have all been so welcoming, and learning a bit more about how communications work in a different part of the NHS.
As well as joining various meetings to get a flavour of the (many!) different projects the comms team work on, I have been helping them out with a couple of pieces of work. With Professor Oliver Shanley, the current CEO, leaving his role at the end of the year, I was given the task of creating a comms plan to raise the profile of current board members, giving NELFT staff the opportunity to learn a bit more about the leaders in their Trust and what their roles involve. With 14 board members (executive and non-executive) overall, my challenge was to find a way to profile all members, while keeping people engaged. I suggested that board members write about their experience of reverse mentoring schemes they have taken part in, to give people an idea of the issues and topics they have worked on through these forums. As well as blogs, I have also suggested videos and Q&As as a couple of different ways to share this info, so keep an eye out for these over the next couple of months!
I have also been working along with Mandy Daisley, Digital Communications Officer, on filming a video about the disability support available to staff at NELFT. The video took the form of a conversation between Professor Oliver Shanley, Jacqui Van Rossum (Executive Director for Integrated Care in London) and Marie-Antoinette Ferreira-Pursley (Co-Chair of the Staff Disability Network and Co-Chair of the Dyslexia & Specific Learning Difficulties Network). I’ve really enjoyed seeing the video come together, from the outline of a concept at the beginning of my placement, to discussions on who would take part, developing a script and then organising and attending the filming itself. It’s also been amazing to hear about the work of the Disability Staff Network to make sure the right support is there for staff with disabilities, whenever they need it, from health passports to adjustments for those working from home.
In all, I’ve had a great time working with the NELFT comms team, learning more about how a different area of the NHS works. It’s been particularly interesting seeing the different comms challenges faced by the Trust, such as how to get communications out to more than 200 sites based in different locations, or how to tailor communications for different areas, when NELFT covers such a wide geography. Thank you so much to Carrie-Ann, Kevin, and the whole NELFT comms team for a fantastic couple of weeks – I’m looking forward to using everything I’ve learned in my role at NHSEI, and hoping to keep in touch with you all in the future!