How good are you at engaging with patients & carers?

Patients now have the choice of using any provider, whether this is choice in GP Practice, consultant-led team or the hospital they use.  

Over the past ten years there has been increasing pressure on the emergency care system.  Everyone is familiar with all the targets that have been set to speed up waiting times in A&E.  Both NHS and Social Care have been working together to develop services which reduce the burden on the emergency care system and have also been trying to educate the general public about which service to use and when.

You will be familiar with a number of government-led initiatives that have run every winter aimed at educating the general public about the different services and explaining which ones should be used depending on the situation.  They have also given advice on how to avoid getting into a situation where they need to access emergency care.

So what are you doing within your organisation to engage the public, patients and carers in your local community?  You may have specific priorities that you need to raise awareness about, so you need to think about how you can engage effectively.  

We have worked with NHS Organisations to explore innovative ways to gather information via their websites as well as support increased engagement through games and online polls.  A high proportion of the general public now access information online and are willing to interact in this way.

One example was when we worked with NHS Nottinghamshire County PCT to engage with the local population as part of a wider healthy debate initiative.  We designed a quiz called ‘Play Your NHS Right’ this was to help the general public understand better the costs of providing healthcare.  

If you decide you want to engage better with public, patients and carers have a look at these tips:

  • Decide what you want to achieve from the engagement exercise
  • Understand your audience. This is critical for attracting their attention
  • Think about the key message and how you can get this across 
  • Make it fun - if the game is not enjoyable then people won’t take part

Remember, the more you engage with people the more likely they are to understand which services they should use and when.

Tagged in: Healthcare