Stay well this Winter: Winter is Coming! (Part one)

Winter is coming…

Working in a Hospital environment, though not clinical, has been an interesting experience over the years. Every winter, there are multiple notices throughout the hospital on various different communication channels such as the daily staff email, noticeboards, email signatures and other places warning staff about the perils of winter.

The Government, or, more accurately, Public Health England which covers health matters in England recently launched their “Stay well this Winter” campaign. According to an article on Homecare (2016), the Office of National Statistics states that over 43,000 winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014 & 2015 – with 75 year olds and over & those with pre-existing conditions most at risk.

Wrap up warm!

The campaign’s goal is, in the words of Professor Willett, for people to “take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well.”  – through, as covered on Homecare (2016), doing things such as staying active, wrapping up warm, ensuring heating is kept at a minimum, seeking advice at the early stages of a cough or cold and more.

A range of materials are available via their website (https://www.nhs.uk/staywell#IWIfDpsYiv8JFoy5.97) for various different sections of the public such as carers, those aged 75 and over, those with health conditions and so on. A very well laid out website with some fantastic resources.

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Words from the Dame…

Digging slightly further, it is interesting to see the other side of the campaign within a “clinical” environment that the public don’t necessarily see. For example, the Hospital has launched a huge campaign to promote Flu jabs within the hospital staff. In one case, they communications team have displayed advertisements providing a lucrative reward of up to 5 days of extra annual leave for any staff who get the jab! This is in addition to various email messages daily, briefs from the Chief Executive, Dame Jacqueline Docherty, in her weekly bulletins and more.

A very comprehensive campaign and interesting to note that a lot of the media coverage has been in various local media outlets rather than national news. In addition to the Huffington Post, a few links to local media coverage online:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jane-cummings/top-tips-to-stay-well-thi_b_12842464.html

http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2016/11/11/cumbrians-urged-stay-well-winter/

http://www.worthingherald.co.uk/news/opinion/health-and-care-how-to-stay-well-this-winter-1-7671082

http://www.yorkshirecoastradio.com/news/local-news/2142656/stay-well-this-winter-roadshow-in-bridlington/

http://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/stay-well-this-winter-campaign-launched-1-7649541

Whilst there are multiple examples of local news pieces about this campaign, there are some examples of national media outlets, such as ITV who have covered this campaign:

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-07/over-65s-urged-to-have-hot-meals-during-winter-to-stay-well/

While there is a strong PR element in this campaign and presence within local NHS trusts, such as mine at the London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust, I was also pleased to see a plethora of resources online available to GPs, healthcare professionals and other clinical staff:

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/34-stay-well-this-winter-/resources

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Watch this space…

I was interested to know how the campaign team who lead on this at the Public Health Authority decide which media outlets to cover and what other means they resort to in order to spread the message to make this campaign successful.

I was also interested to know which other actors (health charities and such) were involved in this campaign.

I am awaiting some answers from PHA and have enquired with the Press team and will update this blog with some answers when I have them.

References:

Homecare (2016) Public health campaign offers advice on how to ’stay well this winter’. Available at: http://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1579714/Public-health-campaign-offers-advice-on-how-to (Accessed: 15 November 2016).

PHA (2016) Welcome to the campaign resource centre. Available at: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/34/resources/1497 (Accessed: 15 November 2016).

Further Note

*This blog has been written as part of my Media, Campaigning and Social Change MA (Part time) at the University of Westminster, for more information about this course please view: http://www.westminster.ac.uk/MACampaigning.

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2 thoughts on “Stay well this Winter: Winter is Coming! (Part one)

  1. It is interesting and somewhat refreshing to read about a campaign with a clear and concise message that is disseminated through traditional means such as local/regional newspapers. I would suggest that the campaign has utilised this particular medium to (re)ignite discussion and raise awareness within local communities regarding personal health practices that may otherwise be taken for granted.

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  2. Isn’t it interesting that promoting winter health requires incentives! That behaviour change principles are being used to communicate something that EVERY individual can not only resonate with but something they probably talk about each week: ‘there are so many bugs going around at the moment’. I wonder if many people have assigned themselves to getting poorly each winter that enacting preventatives is too much effort. As you mention, what insights led Public Health England to implement this type of campaign would be really interesting 🙂

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