Pro Bono: Helping NHS England and NHS Improvement Communicate During A Pandemic
Communicating to the public during a pandemic to support the National Health Service of England
February 23, 2023
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, NHS hospitals became increasingly overwhelmed as infection rates rose. The communication team at NHS England needed strategic communications support to help them cope with unprecedented demand from the media during this crisis. A volunteer team of experts at FTI Consulting worked alongside NHS England to facilitate broadcast network requests for access to ICU wards. The subsequent coverage played a crucial role promoting compliance with public health measures.
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was subsequent uncertainty in the UK and the rest of the world regarding complying with public health measures and upholding confidence in the institution of NHS England.
FTI Consulting volunteered to provide media relations support to the NHS through the first COVID-19 wave in 2020 and the more pronounced winter crisis at the start of 2021. The team was initially put in contact with NHS England in relation to a corporate client with a UK-based employee facing media attention after being labeled as the United Kingdom’s first COVID-19 “super-spreader” at the start of the pandemic.
In close collaboration with NHS England, a volunteer team of 15 FTI Consulting experts worked diligently to enable broadcast networks access to hospital intensive care units and recovery wards to communicate a clear message to the UK public of the seriousness of COVID-19 and the importance of adhering to public health guidelines, while managing the fast-moving nature of news coverage to minimize misinformation. These efforts helped protect the general public of the UK while upholding confidence in the institution of the NHS.