A postcard on covid comms vol3

It’s like “Deja Vu all over again” or so the famous Yogi Berra quote goes.

As we enter the third national lockdown I think we can all be forgiven for a feeling a bit like here we go again.

While London and the South East is suffering increasing service pressures and the return of a grim covid death toll,NHS and public sector organisations all across the country are ramping up again to cope after an almost unrelenting 12 months.

There’s a sense of the gathering storm for NHS comms professionals everywhere and while the response by now is well versed and rehearsed it doesn’t make it feel any easier.

As chair of the NHS Providers #CommsLeads network I speak regularly to counterparts right across the country and it seems clear that this surge will be worse than the last.

Last week I tweeted:

During the North East’s second peak in November I met with one of our ITU consultants to talk through some of the challenges and it was a humbling experience. Read here

A ray of hope

This time though there is some optimism that the tide is turning with the delivery of the vaccination programme. There was lots of talk previously about the comms challenge of anti-vaxers or people wanting more reassurance, but so far the opposite has been true – it’s been more about managing expectations around supply.

It’s been wonderful to see the relief of frontline colleagues who have managed to get the jab so far.

The importance of resilience

This is clearly a huge issue for everyone and was something that was a major talking point in the latest NHS providers session. In fact it’s never been more important and internal communicators have a major role to play in this.

Recognising staff

As communicators it’s also important that we take the time to look after ourselves and each other. Many of us haven’t had much downtime but there are lots of resources out there to help. Take the time to use them.

There’s a sense of exhaustion on the front line and helping recognise and support the efforts of staff is a real priority.

We’ve issued some amazing gift boxes full of local products as well as a huge programme of wellbeing throughout the pandemic. We’ve also focused on trying to help them tell their own stories through things like blogs, videos and podcasts. 

Some lockdown listening

If you need a bit of lockdown listening you can hear me, Adam and Amanda talking about internal comms during the pandemic in this podcast https://abcomm.co.uk/podcasts/episode/episode-41-at-the-heart-of-the-crisis-nhs-comms-during-covid-19/

I’ve also been enjoying 7 deadly sins with Stephen Fry for a bit of meditation on the human condition and some fun with words.

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