County eyes health award

AN innovative NHS campaign helping people prepare for the cold weather last winter has been shortlisted for a top national award.

NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County’s 2011/12 ‘Be Prepared, Be Winterwise’ campaign – the first to use video in a winter communications campaign – is one of eight public sector finalists across the country in contention for the national ‘Integrated Communications Campaign of the Year’ accolade, awarded by the UK Public Sector Communications Awards.

The campaign included a two-minute ‘Be Winterwise’ video which could be viewed on YouTube, local NHS websites, and featured the young and the old from around Derby and Derbyshire – from market traders, football fans to business owners. Each offered their own personal remedy and tip on how to cope with the cold weather, such as eating porridge with cider vinegar and honey or having the flu jab. It was also available as a podcast.

One of the aims of the campaign was to keep pressure off busy A&E departments at a time when severe winter weather can play havoc with people’s health and the country’s infrastructure – resulting in school closures, treacherous road conditions and an increase in falls and severe illnesses aggravated by freezing temperatures.

Debbie Jackson, assistant director of communications for NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County, said: “We’re delighted that our ‘Be Prepared, Be Winterwise’ campaign has been nominated for a top national award.

“Getting key messages out to the public about steps they need to take to keep themselves well and healthy over winter is critical to keeping busy A&E services free to deal with life-threatening emergencies and reducing the impact the cold weather can have on people’s lives.”

Around 2,000 posters and 5,000 Top Ten Tips were distributed during the campaign. The video attracted 234 views on YouTube.

The awards are due to be announced at an official ceremony at the Comedy Store in Manchester on Tuesday 20th November.