The NHS Confederation is one of the largest and most high profile employers’ organisations in the world. It describes itself as “the only body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS” and summarises its role under three broad headings:

  •      Influencing healthcare policy
  •      Making sense of the whole health system and
  •      Delivering industry-wide support functionsScreen Shot 2014-11-04 at 14.08.38

In 2012, we were asked by communications agency Cogitamus to conduct a benchmarking study for the Confederation into current use and future trends in social media in the UK, mainly but not confined to the public sector and health-related organisations. We were also asked to advise the Confederation on its own use of social media.

Our Report was based on an online survey asking respondents details of:

  • social media tools currently being used by individuals and the organisation, both for corporate and personal purposes
  • the frequency with which they currently use social media for a range of business purposes, and
  • the degree to which they plan develop this range in the future; and
  • examples both from within their organisation and beyond of where social media has been used well or badly.

The online survey was complemented by extended one-to-one interviews with a range of leading social market practitioners in the public, health and media sectors. In total, 25 organisations took part in the exercise. These included:

  • the Department of Health;
  • the NHS Confederation;
  • NHS Employers;
  • NHS London;
  • nhssm.org;
  • East and North Herts NHS Trust;
  • Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust;
  • 2gether NHS FT ;
  • South Central Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust;
  • University College London Hospitals;
  • the General Pharmaceutical Council;
  • Health Service Journal;
  • the British Medical Association;
  • the Kings Fund;
  • the Confederation of British Industry;
  • the Department for Innovation, Business and Skills;
  • the Met Office;
  • the Innovation Unit (education think tank);
  • the New Statesman;
  • Q Magazine; and
  • Warp Films.

The results of the benchmarking study were published in August 2012.   A video summarising the main findings remains in the top 3 YouTube search results for ‘public sector social media”.  Its findings were featured as the front page story for the Health Service Journal and we led a conversation on its findings as the HSJ’s first ever tweetchat, trending at number 5 in the UK at its height.


Download the NHS Confederation study here


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