NHS England’s ambition is to place patients and public at the heart of everything it does. It strives for the NHS to be open, evidence-based and inclusive, to be transparent about the decisions it make, the way it operates and the impact it has. It continually encourages patient and public participation in the NHS allowing it to develop the insight to help improve outcomes and guarantee no community is left behind or disadvantaged.
The North, Midlands and East NHS Communications Services (which covers the Shropshire, Telford, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent areas) wanted to explore how the public find out about health information and what the best ways are for NHS England to communicate with the public. Enventure Research was appointed to undertake this research.
A combined quantitative and qualitative methodology was chosen for this research. The quantitative element involved on-street, face-to-face interviews with 1,503 respondents in Shrewsbury, Stafford, Telford, Bridgnorth, Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield. Interviews were conducted by a team of experienced interviewers between 21 May and 14 June 2015, on different times and days of the week, including weekends.
A series of six focus groups followed the on-street interviewing schedule, with participants recruited from the initial survey, to discuss and explore issues in greater depth. Focus groups were moderated by Enventure Research’s experienced team, who followed a carefully designed discussion guide.
Results and Benefits to the Client
The research has provided some useful insight into how people receive healthcare information and advice, and how they would like to receive it in the future. It was revealed that people prefer traditional forms of communication when it is of a personal nature, but are happy to receive general health information via email and text. There is a reluctance to use social media for health information via email and text, but people do use NHS websites for health information and advice as they trust the NHS name. NHS England will be looking to make people aware of the services that pharmacists offer as these are often under-utilised and could help reduce demand on other health services.