How an NHS Trust is encouraging social media use

“We trust our employees with patients’ lives. Why wouldn’t we trust them with social media?”

I’ve shared this quote from Dean Royles, ex-Chief Executive of NHS Employers many times as it highlights the importance of trust in workplaces when it comes to social media.

This week Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust is holding its first ever social media week.

They’re doing exceptional work, and I’m delighted to share it with you.

You can find them on Twitter @BHR_hospitals, on LinkedIn and Facebook. The hashtag they are using is #bhrSoMeWe.

Warning – I’m going to go into detail, so this is a long article. Grab a cup of tea (or ice-cream) and let’s get going…

They’ve published this guide which I think is superb (and was inspired by @DigitalDWP, which you can also see below)


Could this work for your organisation? I think it’s clear, concise and useful. You can share your views below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC

Here’s the original one:

They’ve also produced a series of short videos:

It’s not just employees and patients who are using social media, as Matthew Hopkins, their Chief Executive, is too. He’s a fantastic example of a social CEO and regularly demonstrates Working Out Loud.

Matthew can be found on Twitter @m_j_hopkins:

About the Trust
BHRUTThis is my old news patch, my first job as a journalist back in 1999 was in Havering. My parents still live there and use the services offered by the Trust.

I know the hospitals well and love how they are using social media to provide a window into their part of the NHS world.

They’re building a community on Twitter, with nearly 3000 followers and over 300 people have shown their PRIDE by adding their Twibbon (icon over Twitter photo).

How to succeed
I’m still amazed to find organisations who refuse access to social media for their employees. I believe it’s all down to trust.

My advice is to create flexibility within boundaries – outline what you can use social media for, rather than what you can’t use it for.

The results may just astound you.

If you are looking for a social media policy, there are 300+ in my article: BBC tells staff not to be stupid on social media.

RachRoyallThe thinking behind this week
Rachel Royall is Director of Communications and Marketing at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

She told me: “Across our hospitals we each have a great story to tell, a great idea or something to share.

This week we’re helping employees make sure their voice is heard and giving them the guidance, skills and tools to get involved in conversations through social media.”

The week is part of their Communications and Engagement strategy, Pride with a Smile. The Trust is supporting employees to help them understand how to make the best of social media including:

  • how to get involved in conversations
  • how to learn from others to benefit their career
  • how to stay safe online and
  • understanding how patients and colleagues are using social media.

They are holding social media surgeries and an #NHSTweetup this Friday. Plus launching their Trust Facebook page to engage with the communities they serve.

Good luck this week Rachel. I will be back in touch to find out how it all went to share her findings with readers of the All Things IC blog.

Who uses social media in the NHS?

Users like @NHSMillion, @TommyNTour and @GrangerKate give a unique insight into what inspires people working in the NHS to come to work.

There are also various supportive communities including #hellomynameis, @WeNurses and @WeDocs to make patients’ care as great as possible.

How Doctors use social media
GMCThe General Medical Council (GMC) publishes advice and guidance for Doctors’ use of social media.

You can find out more via this extract, first published in 2013, or see the GMC website for full information.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council also publishes social media guidance.

Want to know more about Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’ social media week? I’ll hand you over to the Trust’s employees…

Further reading via the All Things IC blog:
How to Work out Loud
300+ social media policies
The top 100 CEOs on social media
How employee advocacy works using social media
How Sage uses social media for internal comms
Musings on mice, men and social media at Muir

Post author: Rachel Miller

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First published on the All Things IC blog 20 July 2016.

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