111 – what message is it sending?

I recently wrote about the challenges faced by the NHS over increasing use of A&E services. The recent controversy over NHS Direct withdrawing from 111 telephone services is likely to send a further message that people are ‘better off heading to A&E.’

We need the insight to understand the values that may motivate people to use these services in the way they do.

When NHS Direct was launched in 1998 it was marketed like a 24 hour consumer based service like a bank. This would have appealed to those with outer directed values.

The 111 service had the potential to appeal to those who hold security and safety values. However all the news coverage will have worried them about the actual ‘safety’ of the service. This will make it harder to persuade people to avoid using A&E when they might not need to.

The A&E Crisis and the recent controversy over 111 telephone services, means the recently launched engagement programme ‘The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action’ should be seeking communicate across values sets to:

  • engage people over their views so those who are keen to be involved;
  • gather real insight into what will motivate people to use a different mix of services;
  • reassure people who will be worried over any changes however non-controversial they might be

Only through a multi-segmented approach to communications, insight and engagement will everyone’s views and motivations be taken into account.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

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