Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Weston Area Health NHS Trust and other NHS partners in Bristol and North Somerset have been working to redesign acute hospital services in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding area. Their aim is to make sure services more consistently meet national quality standards, better meet the changing needs of the local population, and are clinically and financially sustainable for the long-term. Our brief was to work with the Clinical Commissioning Group and Healthy Weston Steering Group to advise on and lead delivery of the communications and engagement activity to support the pre-consultation phase of this complex and challenging service reconfiguration programme, and to advise and support the Clinical Commissioning Group during public consultation on the proposed changes.
We developed and delivered a communications and engagement strategy to support the pre-consultation work; advised chief executives, senior leaders, the Clinical Commissioning Group governing body and trust board; drafted and produced a public-facing case for change; developed a rolling narrative and key messaging and established regular communication updates on the programme for a range of audiences; ensured effective public engagement on the developing proposals and options development, including with the seldom heard; supported staff engagement and stakeholder relations, particularly with MPs and local councillors; supported development of the pre-consultation business case and assurance with regulators in terms of the communications and engagement approach and activity; drafted and produced the consultation document; developed the consultation plan; worked across organisations to develop and agree consistent media lines and responses; trained clinical and other leaders to manage the media and present effectively in public consultation meetings; and produced written, video and digital collateral to help explain the reasons for change and proposals to address the challenges faced.
The pre-consultation communications and engagement approach and activity we put in place established ways of working across multiple organisations that continued through to the consultation phase and is supporting the delivery of change in the Weston area. The national regulator, whose role is to assure the work of complex change programmes, described our consultation plan as ‘textbook perfect’ and praised the pre-consultation communications and engagement activity.Case studies