The best #nhssm of 2016

It’s that time of year again, where has 2016 gone?! Here’s our summary of the best social media use from across the NHS this year.


Headlining our line-up is the @NHS Twitter account. Modelled on the @Sweden profile, @NHS is curated by a different person each week. Sometimes it’s a patient, a carer or a member of NHS staff. So far we’ve heard from 4 patients, a consultant paramedic, a psychologist, a charge nurse, a surgical registrar, an operating department practitioner and a midwife!

We applaud the behind the scenes logistics and admin that must have been involved in getting this off the ground and the continued work towards bringing new perspectives to us every week.

Keep an eye on the account going into to 2017 for ace videos like the below.


It the rough seas of post-referendum #Brexit Britain the #LoveOurEUStaff campaign from NHS Employers was a guiding light back towards less divisive, more inclusive rhetoric. The pace at which the campaign was started and took root throughout public and NHS networks was impressive with nearly 10,000 people sharing their support to date.

We hope despite the uncertainty that still exists for European staff across the NHS, 2017 will bring more stories of their major contribution and as swift as possible a way of ensuring they can easily continue to work in the NHS post-Brexit.


NHS Blood and Transplant’s Missing Type campaign was re-loaded after it’s storming success in 2015. Joined by a wide range of corporate, NHS and public sector supporters the campaign went international in 2016.

Perhaps after the glut of Christmas we could all give a little blood? As the campaign says, “You can give blood in less than an hour and save and improve up to three lives.”

Pimp my zimmer!

Thanks to @DrSodha for bringing this one to our attention!

How do you get older people, some with dementia, to remember to use their zimmer frames more often? Why pimp those Zimmers of course! Such a simple and cool idea. It lead to a drop in falls of 60% in the care home it was started in.

Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES) CCG’s Community Champions

BaNES CCG worked with a team of community champions to involve service users and carers in the re-procurement of community health and care services. The champions were trained and supported to evaluate and score bids for the £700 million contract which was won by Virgin Care.

In this series of short, personal videos from the community champions (many from within their own homes), the people who use the service say why Virgin Care won the bid and what matters to them most as patients and carers. A fantastic and emotive way of helping counter any controversy associated with the outcome of the tender.


The pair of sold out, energetic events run by NHS Employers this year in Leeds and London all about how to use social media in the NHS were absolutely standout in 2016. Catch up with them on the hashtag: #NHSgetsocial. The level of interest in the events and the motivation of the attendees showed the NHS is beginning to pick up the gauntlet of doing excellent online communications and engagement. From the people we met at the conferences, 2017 looks set to be the year of the move from broadcast to two-way engagement online in many an NHS organisation and team.

Inflatable MRI

We end with a simple idea – introduce children to the potentially scary MRI via an inflatable life-size model! Apparently the level of interest from this one tweet has seen orders rise. A great example of how social media can help spread best practice.

So that’s a wrap folks! If there are any other examples you’d like to share drop them in the comments.

All that’s left is for us to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a happy and healthy New Year and say thanks to those of you (clerical admin, medical, nursing, AHP, estates, the whole team) who will be keeping the NHS going over the festive season. Thank you!

Alex & Will

Why video is not important for you on social media

That’s right, video isn’t important, it’s vital.

OK, so apologies for the clickbait title, but did you really think we were actually going to say video isn’t important? If there’s something you need to be thinking about and investing in right now, it’s video.


Over the next 5 years:

  • Video will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic1;
  • Nearly a million minutes of video will be shared every second1;
  • The number of hours that people spend watching videos on YouTube will increase 60 percent year on year2.

That’s the next 5 years, but if you look at your social media feeds right now, what do you see? Video. Brands, organisations, trusts and individuals are creating and publishing more video than ever before, because they know it’s a key way to grab the attention of their audience and increase engagement.

Here are two ways video is being used on social media to benefit organisations…

1. Using video for recruitment

It’s no secret that social media can have a positive impact on recruiting candidates for posts, but it’s often underused. By creating video content, you’re able to bring that post to life, and give more information to the potential candidate, as well as showing some of the personality of your organisation.

This is a nice example of a recruitment video from Cambridge University Hospitals, who created this video after a job advert for Paediatric Recovery Nurses had been live on three separate occasions with no applicants. This simple, short social video was put together, posted on their Facebook and resulted in six applicants applying for the position.

This #betterwithyou video looking to recruit Radiographers from Morecambe Bay NHS Trust looks at life beyond the working environment, and why Morecambe is a great place to live, too.

They are also doing short videos with new starters from within the Trust to reinforce their messaging, very clever!

2. Making health messages more engaging

We all know social media is a great platform to engage people around important health messages, but they’re not always easy to get across and make engaging. Using video can, if done well, make this easier. Here are a few examples.

Public Health Wales used some time-lapse footage to link in with #WalkingWednesday on Twitter. They used simple messaging over this video content to make their information more shareable. It achieved much higher engagement across Facebook and Twitter than other plain text content.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust used animations to communicate some important messages around recognising sepsis in children. A complex and difficult subject to cover, this animation made that information easier to digest and more engaging.

So what’s stopping you?

So why aren’t more of us creating video content for social media? I think there are a couple of reasons:

  • Too expensive
  • Not enough time
  • No idea how to do it

That’s where we can help. Video doesn’t have to be expensive, and it’s easier than you might think to create engaging content. We’re running training sessions on how to create great video content, all on your smartphone, come and take a look:

Have you seen any great examples of video use in the NHS? Why not tweets us your links @nhssm and tell us why you love them.