At a Glance
Through an innovative, digital-first campaign, Freshwater designed and implemented Swansea Bay University Health Board’s ‘Changing for the Future,’ a ten-week programme to raise awareness and engage with the public to obtain their opinions about proposals to move and restructure services across its three main hospital sites to better meet the needs of today’s patients – with excellent results.
social media reach
Following two years of intense service pressures created by the pandemic, and invaluable lessons in how healthcare providers can adapt to such challenges, Swansea Bay University Health Board developed ‘Changing for the Future,’ a set of proposals to turn its three main hospital sites into specialist centres of excellence. Freshwater was asked to put in place a ten-week programme, draw up terms of reference for public engagement, co-authoring the proposals, develop a questionnaire and create a multi-channel communications strategy.
Freshwater applied one of the core proposals of “Changing for the Future” – enhanced use of digital technology – to its engagement strategy, developing a campaign centred around a custom-built microsite. To drive traffic, Freshwater delivered a demographically-targeted social media marketing campaign. Promoted posts used static images and short videos, including an explainer produced with the Board’s chief executive and medical director. Alongside rich media content lay deeper background information such as engagement documents, details of stakeholder engagement events and access to the questionnaire.
Making the most of our event management division, Freshwater also organised a series of public and staff-facing virtual town hall events, using online registration to build a database for digital marketing and further stakeholder engagement. Freshwater produced dedicated video content, newsletters, online events and intranet forum contributions to engage the health board’s 12,500 staff and produced the proposal documents and survey in Welsh, BSL and EasyRead form to overcome access barriers. Printed versions were made available, too, with a Freepost return address, and distributed via public awareness shopping centre days and local community hubs. Every aspect of the programme was delivered bilingually in Welsh and English.
The largest NHS public engagement ever undertaken in Swansea Bay, ‘Changing for the Future’ attracted significant public, staff and stakeholder interest. Over the ten-week engagement period, 7,800 unique visitors were received on the programme’s micro-site, social media advertising reached more than 200,000 residents, and 1,267 – a record number – questionnaire responses were recorded. Public engagement was informative and meaningful, garnering invaluable public insight, such as the need to address transport infrastructure when relocating services. The client saw an overwhelmingly positive public response to the Board’s key proposals, providing a clear mandate for the intended changes, without the need to carry out further public consultation.