By Ian Quinn
The NHS in London could be landed with a bill of up to £2m in the next financial year for a ‘branding' exercise to make polysystems attractive to patients, Pulse can reveal.
All 31 PCTs in the capital have been told by NHS London that getting the PR message right is key if polysystems are to win support.
Eight PCTs in North West London have already committed to coming up with new marketing strategies to promote polysystems. A report by NHS Hillingdon said it alone planned to spend up to £70,000 in the next 12 months.
‘The overall programme requires clear and consistent branding [to] enable the public and local opinion formers to understand how community-level delivery will impact positively on local healthcare access and provision,' the report states. ‘An early priority will be to develop a ‘core script' for advocates of the system.'
There are also plans for NHS managers to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread a consistent message about the shake-up of GP services
But NHS Hillingdon has stopped short of a formal consultation with patients, with NHS London having left it to individual PCTs to decide if such an exercise is needed.
A spokesperson for NHS Hillingdon said a ‘scaled up' version of its marketing plans across many London PCTs was likely, adding: ‘We're very conscious to make sure we spend money wisely but we are talking about moving large amount of services from expensive hospital setting to more efficient services in primary care which in the long run will save money and its important to educate patients about them.'NHS spends millions on promoting polysystems to patients