In October 2015, the Trust Board decided to review existing communications and engagement activity and develop a robust new strategy that would meet the needs of the organisation, then and in the future.

The Trust Communications Strategy was agreed by the Board in May 2016 and was reaffirmed in the attached 2018 Delivery Plan.

It recognised that effective two-way communication is crucial to every successful healthcare organisation. When applied effectively, it can cement working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, augment a reputation for delivering high-quality care, and set the tone for an entire organisation.

Evidence also shows that good engagement improves quality of care and patient outcomes. Research by the Kings Fund in 2012 found that the more positive the experiences of staff within an NHS trust, the better the outcomes for that trust with links to patient satisfaction, patient mortality and infection rates.

Engagement is also regarded as a key driver to ensure staff understand, feel motivated and are able to contribute to the direction of the Trust.

Reflecting detailed feedback from the Board and colleagues across the Trust, the strategy aims to strengthen the communications and engagement function, aligned to the Trust’s strategic direction, while applying core communications principles and best practice from across the NHS.

The following Communication Objectives formed the agreed 2016 Strategy and remain the Trust’s agreed communications objectives:

Outstanding organisation with high quality services

  • Raise the quality of communication and engagement channels to match the Trust’s ambitions set out in its vision and objectives – thereby raising its reputation, aiding staff retention and attracting the best staff.
  • Build and promote a strong profile of the Trust locally and nationally through a new distinctive design style within the NHS brand and compelling narrative to create greater awareness, confidence and relationship with stakeholders particularly people who need the Trust’s services.
  • Improve the reputation of the organisation locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Support the Trust to become a national leader in digital technology and for all the stakeholders to understand the benefits and be engaged.

Partnership working and integrated care

  • Strengthen relationships with partners (particularly primary care) and collaborate on
    promotion of joint developments in integrated care.

Prevention agenda

  • Raise awareness of the Trust’s services and how to improve wellbeing across online
    and offline channels with increasing use of digital media.

Internal communications

  • Involve and inform Trust staff in the vision and the direction of the organisation
    enabling them to contribute and understand how their roles support the success of
    the Trust and the impact on our patients.
  • Aim to raise the Trust’s staff engagement score year on year by ensuring their views
    are heard, seeking their feedback, listening, empowering, and responding to make a
    difference to their working life.

Greater involvement with carers and users of our services

  • Ensure users of our services are involved in the design and development of external


  • Evaluate and measure communication performance.

The Trust’s communications team have been leading the pursuit of these agreed
objectives since the strategy was agreed.

The attached Delivery Plan sets out each Communications Objective, what progress we have made during 2017 to deliver the objective and how the Communications Delivery Plan 2018-20 builds on 2017 progress.

Combined Connected – Communications Plan 2018-2020 – Final Version