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Hitting the road: The Effective English Company heads north

One of the things I love most about running my own business is the diverse array of work involved and the number of inspirational people you meet along the way – which is why I’m really excited that the Effective English Company is, once again, going to be an exhibitor at the NHS Confederation’s Communications Conference.

There’s just under a week to go until this year’s conference, which is being held on June 12 in Manchester, and I’m already trying to work out how I’m going to fit in everything I want to do while I’m there.

This year’s theme is Future Proofing Communications in the Modern NHS and there are some great speakers with really exciting perspectives on the shape of things to come. I’ve been involved with NHS communications for 15 years and seen so much change in that time. There’s no doubt these are turbulent times for everyone working in the NHS, making it more important than ever to hear from those with a fresh perspective on how communications can keep up.

So, while I’m not manning our stall, these are the highlights I’m aiming to catch:

  • Having worked with NHS England’s new care models team I’m really interested in the ‘Effective engagement and communication with STPs and other groups’ masterclass session. STPs are an exciting development, delivering some positive changes for staff and patients, but they can also present a huge comms challenge when it comes to explaining why familiar systems and processes can’t stay the same.
  • As a small business owner who has been busy dealing with my own GDPR requirements over the past few months, I’m looking forward to the ‘What’s GDPR got to do with PR?’ masterclass session by Amanda Nash from Plymouth Hospitals and Rachel Heenan from Capsticks. The May 25 deadline may have been and gone but I certainly don’t think it will be the last that comms professionals hear about the subject.
  • If anyone knows about digital communications in the public sector it’s Dan Slee, founder of the excellent Comms2point0. I’ve known Dan for a while now so am looking forward to listening to his talk and hope to have time to chat to him between sessions.
  • I’m a regular blood donor and on the Organ Donor Register, so it will be fascinating to hear the plenary address by Ceri Rose and Melissa Thermidor from NHS Blood and Transplant. Their innovative campaigns need to work hard in challenging times in order to persuade the public to give in exchange for nothing more than a good feeling and a couple of biscuits, and they’ll be talking about how they deliver more with less resource.
  • I’m also really looking forward to Anthony Tiernan’s session on plans for the NHS 70 celebrations. I worked with Anthony when he was in the new care models team at NHS England so it will be great to catch up and find out more about all the activities planned for the year. I remember how much fun it was working on the NHS 60 campaign a decade ago with the Nottingham University Hospitals comms team and I’m sure the NHS 70 campaign will highlight some truly outstanding stories.

When I’m not darting in and out of talks and workshops I’m looking forward to catching up with people at our stand. I know there’ll be some familiar faces there such as the fantastic Nottingham-based team from Touch Design as well as some of our current and previous clients, but it’s always great to meet inspirational new ones too. So, if you’re going to the conference please do come and say hello. We’ll be on Stand 9 and it would be great to meet you.

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