Andy Burnham’s speech to the King’s Fund yesterday made it clear that the money will follow the results of patient experience.
Whoever is elected to government next May is unlikely to make a significant change to that.
The direction of travel is therefore clear and NHS Trusts will need to prepare for that.
Reports from the King’s Fund and evidence from the United States, where competition is much fiercer, show that non-clinical experience will be at least as important to patients as clinical competence and effectiveness.
Overall Trust reputation will thus be increasingly important and NHS Trusts need a reputation management strategy that not only deals with the occasional crisis management that they are already used to operating, but also a longer-term approach to addressing all the issues that contribute to reputation.
Jonathan Upton, Chairman of the Campaign Company, is well aware of these challenges having led on reputation campaigns in health and other sectors. He is speaking at a Conference on NHS Marketing in Cambridge today. As a contribution to the conference and the wider debate, Jonathan and the team at TCC have produced a guide on reputation management that is available online here
The guide works from the starting point that NHS Trusts are by their very nature in the public eye. This is because of the sensitive and responsible nature of the work they do and the money they administer on behalf of the taxpayer.
As well as the constant service pressures, there is now the current recession and the consequent pressure on the NHS to achieve savings to contribute to its own future growth to meet health demand. This will put additional pressures on NHS Trusts that most will not have experienced for more than a decade. In addition, many public services are recording higher levels of public mistrust. An environment in which this is the main narrative may weaken the ability of NHS Trusts to influence the political agenda when big decisions on public spending priorities are required. At the same time crises occur that can set back years of work and poor patient perceptions may now lead to a significant loss of income.
The TCC guide may assist NHS Trusts who find themselves in this situation. It draws from the wide experience of TCC in tackling reputation management issues in the NHS and in the wider public sector.
This posting was written by Charlie Mansell who is Research and Development Officer at TCC