Three communications and engagement rules for CCGs

Doctors performing surgery

It’s new year and time for another brave new world for the NHS.

Never mind patients waking up with a hangover, Government reforms will make 2014 a challenging year for GPs and others running the new-look NHS as CCGs, CSUs, NHS 111 and all sorts of other acronyms get to grips with their new roles at the heart of what is still the world’s best healthcare system*.

With patient engagement and the input of friends and family increasingly important in helping shape the delivery of services around the country one of the biggest challenges for those in charge of the new system is listening to and communicating with their customers (aka patients).

Throw in the amount of NHS-related noise you get through social media and the challenges are significant.

For me, CCGs have to follow three clear and simple rules to keep their communications and engagement activities on track.

1)   Listening is as important as talking – communication is not a one-way thing – listening to and acting on patient feedback is essential

2)   Keep it simple stupid – don’t lapse in to dear old Donald Rumsfeld territory – no jargon please when talking with patients and the public

3)   Put customer service at the heart of what you do – as consumers we now expect the best ethical standards of the public sector combined with the best customer service standards of the private sector. Some parts of the UK public sector get that. Other’s don’t and it shows. Make sure you are on the right side of the fence.

*I’m no medic but name me another system you’d like to swap the NHS for that will improve healthcare outcomes and that the UK plc can afford. Answers on a postcard please to @dtwchris.

PS – 10 points if you can spot the key role that Commissioning Support Units play in the new look NHS on the Department of Health’s overview of the new-look system.

Struggling? I don’t blame you – they don’t even get a mention despite being key players in providing