All you need to know about NHS66
On Saturday the 5th July the NHS will celebrate its 66th birthday. While I am absolutely sure it will not be its last there are many who fear that it will slowly be wound down and loose its “essence” as private companies buy into service provision. I am absolutely certain though that the Great British public does not want see it devalued or dismantled.
The NHS is not ready for retirement. Indeed the best evidence says that it is still one of the most cost efficient, effective and best loved health systems in the world.
I have been frustrated recently that the message that the NHS is under threat has not been picked up by the public. Many seem to believe the often unjustified negative press coverage and do not seem to have the will to counter it. We need a step change in public opinion and the 66th birthday of the NHS may provide an opportunity to develop real momentum.
So what can we do?
Imagine what an impact it would have if everyone who supports the NHS collaborated in a massive coordinated campaign the 5th July. That could really get the world’s attention and lead to big changes in public opinion – but it is unlikely to happen. The organisational manpower required to get this off the ground would be beyond any individual groups’ current capability.
But what if groups, organisation and individuals all put on their own events for the day and link them under a common banner? #NHS66 The effect of this loose collaboration could be almost as great as a coordinated campaign and the workload would be much more widely spread. There would be better local connection and it would be less likely to fail. At least some of the events will prove successful and all events will all benefit from each other’s publicity. It sounds grandiose but actually I think it is doable. We can grow a massive national event from the ground up without organising committees and budgets. The power of social media at its best.
Who should be involved?
Everybody from political parties to interested individuals! I hope most of the pro NHS bloggers and tweeters will join in. There is also room for NHS organisations, professional associations and charities to get involved.
What sort of things can you get involved in?
Anything and everything! The only limit is your own imagination.You can organise your own events or just join in on the day. The main thing is to make sure that you are involved in some way.
All events will be associated with the #NHS66 banner. All you need to do is search the internet..
- Be part of the biggest birthday party ever! Although the problem is serious we need to celebrate the NHS and what better way than a party.
- Have a Picnic in the Park.
- Open days and fetes.
- Live Twitter events. We have to be careful not to have several of these at the same time. My current plan is to do something with the tag #thankyounhs starting at 12.00. I would appreciate everyone getting behind this. Watch for announcements on Twitter and Facebook a week or so beforehand.
- Write a poem for #NHS66
- Get involved in a song writing competition.
- Marches or public meetings. It is a Saturday so a good time to organise these.
- Fundraising events for NHS charities.
- Petitions and lobbying MPs.
- News and media campaigns. If we make this big enough we should be able to get national news and press coverage.
A key component of everything will be to Big Up the NHS by posting pictures of events on social media using the hash tag #NHS66.
If you like the idea the first thing to do is share the link to this page on twitter and Facebook so that we can build up a head of steam. Search for #NHS66 on twitter and Facebook. Retweet or share the good stuff and add some of your own. We need a back catalog of #NHS66 for when we go to the press for support. I will help convince them that it is a viable concern.
A sample press release is available for those who wish contact their local media. You can modify it for your own events.
Sharing the word is crucial at this stage. Message or email your contacts. Plan your event now. Talk to the press. Share your ideas on social media. Try and persuade the big hitters to join in. Recruit a few celebrities. Reblog this if you like. Spread the word. I will put it out on Twitter and Facebook a lot – so please forgive me if you hear it more than once.
With a fair wind and lots of effort we could make this could be the biggest celebration of the NHS in its 66 year history!