Fresh eyes

Preparation key for healthcare communications

Preparation key for healthcare communication
Paul Tustin Client Director PR & Comms Headshot

Published by Paul Tustin,
PR & Communications Director at Freshfield

Barely a day goes by without another media report or investigation into the shocking quality of care administered in the NHS or in one of our care homes – with this week’s Panorama investigation into The Old Deanery in Essex being the latest example.

Unfortunately, these relatively small number of incidents put into the shade the good work undertaken every day in NHS institutions and care homes up and down the country.

By nature, the care sector deals with people, and ultimately it is people’s lives and their quality of life while at their most vulnerable that we are talking about.

This very theme came under close scrutiny at a seminar staged by Freshfield, accountants Moore & Smalley and RBS this week entitled Building Your Reputation: Growing Your Business.

The clear message emerging was that those care home operators who can stand proud and who hold best practice as standard can help themselves despite the tarnished reputation of the sector itself.

Building a business structure which enables information to flow internally and externally across relevant channels develops consistency of the message and communicates the values of the organisation clearly.

There is no substitute for being prepared. Having a process in place for handling information which may be shared with its stakeholders – including the media, local partners and industry bodies – also helps to protect a business if something unforeseen should happen.

If lightning does strike, having a robust communications process and crisis management plan in place allows every-day business to continue without presenting further risk to the business.

Building sound values and communicating them first internally amongst employees – the most important stakeholders of all – helps a business to become accessible and transparent. Its employees are, after all, its best ambassadors as they move about the community.

With the building blocks in place, positioning the business in the media, online, on social media if relevant and in other formats becomes much clearer and consistent. There is then no doubt what the organisation stands for.

This sound management structure also attracts approval from the financial institutions who, we heard at the seminar, show more favour to those with plans in place. By the end of the event, we all seemed agreed – it pays to be prepared.

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