Christmas is a very special time of year for the NHS.
There are poignant juxtapositions of celebration and sadness, pleasure and pain, excitement and fear. The staff who work over the holiday period may miss out on a family Christmas but they try to bring a little of the party to work. The patients do the same if they can. There is a palpable sense of celebration tempered by professionalism and respectful care for those too ill to appreciate the season. In the NHS life goes on – 365 days a year - but Christmas day is different.
The NHS has taken a bit of a battering lately. Unjustified negative press, swinging financial cutbacks and the threat of privatisation have all conspired to undermine and destabalise the NHS. The pressure on the staff has never been greater and morale has suffered.
A sad NHS is a bad NHS, so it is everybody’s interest to Big it Up. There can be no better way to do this than to share stories of what the NHS means to us at Christmas time. We can use social media to channel, amplify and direct the seasonal good will.
How does it work?
All you need to do is share your positive NHS stories and pictures on Twitter and Facebook using the hash tag #MyNHSChristmas.
This is not just for NHS staff who are working at Christmas. If you are a patient, carer or just have good memories of the NHS at Christmas time please join in. You may simply want to thank those at work while you enjoy the festivities.
There is no limit to the number of posts you can make.
You may also want to search for #MyNHSChristmas from time to time and see what others have posted. You can retweet or share the ones you like the best.
You can start using the tag straight away but if you use Twitter please try to save at least one killer Tweet for Christmas Day at or just after noon. The idea of a mass coordinated tweet is that it will trend on Twitter. Trending means that everyone will see the tag and it is likely that more and more people will join in. A twitter storm of positive feeling. Don’t worry if you cannot make the exact time anything close will do. Make a mental note now or better still put it in your diary.
Please advertise #MyNHSChristmas
I will be sending out reminders at intervals. Please share these with your friends and followers whenever you see them. Try not to be irritated if you see it more than once. Not everyone sees each post every time it goes out so the message needs to be sent more than once.
You can advertise too. There is a graphic below which you can copy and share – or better still make your own to add a bit of variety. You can also use a link to this blog when you send out your messages.
You may also want to make some posters to put up around your organisations. If you do please let me have a copy and I will make them available for everyone to share on the web site.
A word of caution
It is great if you can include pictures but if these are taken on NHS premises be very careful to observe your local social media guidelines and do not include pictures of patients without their permission.
Please have a Merry NHS Christmas and lets all look forward to a Happy NHS New Year.