Ten clinical commissioning groups needed to transform acute stroke services across Kent and Medway to improve outcomes and reduce death and disability from stroke. The proposal was to establish three hyper acute stroke units, consolidating the current acute services which were being delivered across six hospital sites. Our brief was to lead, plan and deliver the communications and engagement support in the pre-consultation, assurance, consultation and decision-making phases of the review, covering a population of 2.2 million.
We developed and delivered a communications and engagement strategy and delivery plans aligned to the transformation programme in each phase. This included: narrative and message development; planned, sequenced and consistent communication across a range of channels (internal communications, digital, media, social media, stakeholder relations etc) and robust engagement with staff, patients, carers, stakeholders, campaigners and the public, including outreach to seldom heard and protected characteristic groups; comprehensive consultation activity including development of the consultation document and consultation plan, delivery of 28 public meetings, a comprehensive research programme (focus groups, telephone polling, surveys), extensive stakeholder relations, and production of digital and printed content and collateral. As part of the programme team we worked closely with the Programme Management Office and multiple partner organisations, and with and through local communications and engagement colleagues. We also trained and supported clinical and organisational leaders to stand on public platforms with a compelling case for change, a clearly articulated vision and lines to take on key issues.
We delivered the consultation activity to plan and within budget and exceeded the reach and response targets for the public consultation. Our work was highly praised by the client, held up as best-practice by national regulators, and in an unprecedented move was commended by the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (comprised across four local authority areas).Case studies