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Can Twitter help you have your say?

Over five million patients can now have a greater say on how their health services are run after Monitor awarded foundation status to St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, bringing us to 149 NHS trusts with foundation status, notes HSJ. Monitor’s decision gives St George’s a range of new freedoms, meaning that the trust can better shape health services around the needs of its patients. Also, local people can now have a formal say over how the trust is run by becoming members or governors. What role can Social Media play in giving people and organisation a louder voice? 


In December, I read with interest the results of the first comprehensive analysis of social media in the NHS On the Brink of SoMething Special? Thank you @jbmccrea for an incredible amount of work that has resulted in a must read for all social media enthusiasts.

St Georges was ranked number 23 in the top 50 NHS Organisational Twitter accounts.  Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was number one.  16 Foundation Trusts featured in the top 50, alongside 13 non Foundation Trusts and 13 CCG’s. This suggests that Foundation Trusts are leading the way in the world of social media, and in particular twitter.

Most NHS Trusts now have a twitter account, some have multiple. I am growing my Twitter community/fan base at a rate that I am proud of; @interimcarter now has 282 followers! Not quite as impressive as some accounts out there in the Healthcare market, but I am working on it.

Personally, twitter has helped me reach out to the wider healthcare market and enabled me to learn more about what successes and challenges my clients are facing. This in turn has helped me place my interim network to the right organisations at the right time, giving me great say in how I might be able to support change.

In my journey through the twittersphere I see an impressive presence among NHS front line staff. Debates, twitter chats, performances, challenges and information is constantly being shared. It’s hard to keep up with all that’s available. It is also impressive to see this crowd being joined by a growing cadre of visionary chief executives and senior management. Rather than waiting for their organisations to catch up, these individuals have begun to embrace and promote social media. Do these NHS Trusts have a greater voice because of their presence on Twitter? 

The research also suggested that four out of five NHS organisations now use at least one social media channel for corporate communication and engagement, although almost one in three only use Twitter. #GoTwitter

Miles Scott, CEO at St Georges, (@StGeorgesCEO) has a following of 869, but the Trust’s official account @StGeorgesTrust, is topping his following with an impressive 7,971 followers. Will I ever reach these dizzy heights of followers?! #musttryharder

Social media presents everyone working in health and social care with a platform for communicating and listening.  Twitter in particular, allows providers to connect and engage directly with thousands of people at any one time. In some cases, it has led to truly remarkable transformations in engagement and communication between the NHS and its users.

It is clear that social media is embraced by a whole range of NHS organisations and it is a great feeling when one of my clients or interims tweet me! My hall of Twitterfame if growing and I have now been in tweeting conversations with many senior leaders in the healthcare market about business and how I can support.

I am using social media to build my strong network of interims even further; so if you are not following me already, you can find me @interimcarter. Every new follower will get a RT and if you are lucky a FF!

See you in the twittersphere!

Check the visual for 12 Twitter facts for 2015, which comes courtesy of Twitter.


Claire Carter is the Principal of Healthcare at Interim Partners.

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