Getting social with the CCG

Well here I am doing something I never expected to do – writing a blog, having posted online and who knows even see people share it on social media. All this is thanks to a recent course I attended which was set up and delivered by staff at NHS Leeds West CCG.

In my role as patient leader I’m expected to consider the needs of the wider community and how we reach them. One of the methods I’d heard of was social media but if I’m honest I’d just nod my head in agreement whenever the words were mentioned. Good thing that the CCG has put together an introduction to social media course to cover the basics which can be followed up by a practical session.

The training was delivered by Shak Rafiq  and Natasha Noor who both work in the communications and engagement team for the CCG.

Before talking about the day I wanted to say it was  a bit of a disappointing turn out, with only three patient leaders turning up including myself. But as the session moved along maybe this was the right number as we had lots of questions!

However that did not divert our couple of super dooper  trainers from giving us an insight and demonstrations of social media. Now I know why they said three hours is not enough and we can only cover the basics and concentrate on some of the more popular channels. In fact we spent lots of time learning about Twitter – simply because it has a language of its own.

The training is especially helpful if, like me, you only perhaps  use emails and Facebook. Or maybe I’m already moving beyond a social media novice as I’m sure some people perhaps just use email.

Through the course of the session we dipped into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

The purpose of this was to highlight the variety of platforms and the various reasons people used them. We found out, for instance young people are now limiting the amount of time they spend on Facebook and using other platforms such as Instagram. Why? Well apparently it’s because their parents/carers can see what they’re up to on Facebook.

And then there’s a whole new world of Snapchat – thankfully we didn’t really cover this although apparently despite what you hear these things are not just used for sexting!

As patient leaders and patient assurance group (PAG) members we need to be aware of the range of options available to reach out to our patients, especially seldom heard groups including those from particular communities/ethnicities and those of differing ages. This enables us to challenge or ask the questions we need to ask regarding contacting and engaging our patients.

If, like me you are not a regular user of the range of social media, Shak will be only too happy to tender advice on this range of options. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this anyway it’s my blog so he doesn’t have a choice…

We were given some very helpful handouts. The first set showed us icons for popular social media platforms and a brief description. The second was designed to help us understand the key tasks that can be performed on Twitter.

All in all a very worthwhile training session. Now I’m looking forward to putting the theory into action by attending the follow-up practical session. Who knows maybe I’ll be tweeting, following and liking things before long. There’s a thought I haven’t given this blog a hashtag… then again I must remind myself ’small steps Bob’.

Speaking on behalf of Alison , Ken and myself  we can recommend this training package if you are not familiar or comfortable  with the range of social media.

Thanks to Shak and Natasha for an interesting and informative afternoon. I’m now off to check my post apparently the world still uses paper….

Bob McDougall

Patient leader for NHS Leeds West CCG