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Back in the day when we used to watch black and white films on black and white TVs, when there was no social media only newspapers and the radio, in the immediate decades not long after the invention of the National Health Service, our healthcare system was a very much different affair. If you were too poorly to get out of bed, the doctor would come and visit you, and no matter what you thought of your symptoms the doctor knew best. They were, after all, the expert and they had a stethoscope to prove it. If you could stagger out of bed and make it to the GP surgery, you would join a queue of the coughing and the spluttering, sitting around someone’s converted front living room, waiting in turn to see the doctor. It was a more paternalistic time, an era possibly when doctors and nurses actually had more time, and a time when the NHS had a relatively simple and easy to understand structure. There was the GP practice, there was the big hospital, there was the smaller district hospital, and there was a room or two in one of the hospital buildings where an emerging breed of NHS manager sorted out the piles of papers.

If we jump forward to 2016, things have moved on quite a bit. We have urgent care centres, walk-in centres, primary care ‘hubs’, out-of-hours primary care, the 111 phone service, NHS Choices, and secondary and tertiary care. We have a commissioner and provider split, CCGs, MCPs, CQC, STPs, trusts, foundation trusts, PACS, vanguards, pioneers, fast track sites, specialised commissioning, accountable care organisations, integrated care, multi-disciplinary teams, GP federations, GP alliances, hospitals taking over GPs, GPs taking over hospitals, and the list goes on… It’s fair to say we live in a more complicated world, with more complex structures and more difficult choices. So how do we make sense of this in terms of communications for the NHS? And how do we ‘market’ the emerging new health and social care arrangements to a public that still largely holds the NHS in high regard but which has suspicions about political influence and ongoing change.

Our solution is to take inspiration from the old days – keep it simple. Simple works. People get simple. Keeping it simple is like living in a world without audio-visual clutter. We speak to our client, we get to the heart of the matter, and we capture it. The result might look ‘simple’ but there’s always a huge amount of creative thinking and challenging discussion in producing the concept. One of our clients, NHS Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for the NHS in this Derbyshire area covering Ilkeston and Long Eaton, is involved in developing one of the new care models in the health service. It’s known as a multi-specialty community provider (or MCP) which essentially is seeing the coming together of all the local organisations in the area, NHS commissioner, hospitals, community services and voluntary services to forge a new way of working. By pooling resources and services, they can work more efficiently, and they can also try to create a new relationship with local citizens, empowering them to take charge of their own health and wellbeing wherever possible.

We have worked with them to create ‘Wellbeing Erewash’ – a simple brand that captures the essence of this new approach of healthcare organisation and delivery. In the design the initial letters of Wellbeing Erewash have been placed together to form ‘WE’ stressing the nature of the new way of partnership working involved and that healthcare is not a one-way delivery mechanism anymore. Patients are no longer purely the passive recipients of clinical care from doctors and nurses - as in the old days we spoke about earlier - they are the active participants and hopefully leaders in charge of their health and wellbeing. This is shown in the way Wellbeing Erewash promotes its themes of ‘personal resilience’ and ‘community resilience’. It is very much a ‘we’ approach in that we are all in this together, rather than a ‘me and them’. Following the development of the brand for Wellbeing Erewash we have gone on to produce their website and marketing materials including print items. It is very much a ‘we’ partnership with Erewash, with both the client and ourselves teaming up for the greater good. Another enjoyable piece of client work at the vanguard of good design where we think we’ve done rather good.

 

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