Right Care First Time

Reducing demand on NHS Accident and Emergency services

If things stay as they are there will be a £140 million funding gap for English Accident and Emergency (A&E) services within ten years.

The brief

Mansfield and Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) commissioned Hitch to create a branded social marketing campaign to reduce unnecessary attendances to A&E. The campaign should educate audiences on all appropriate health service choices – including self-care, pharmacies, NHS 111, GPs and minor injury units – rather than making A&E their first port of call.

The approach

Hitch followed the Total Process Planning approach to deliver this project, developed by our associates at the National Social Marketing Centre (NSMC), which closely mirrors the Government’s OASIS framework.

Following an initial inception meeting with the client to firm up key objectives and outcomes, we began our initial insight phase to identify target audiences, understand their behaviours and the preferred channels that could influence decision-making.

Hitch analysed quantitative data such as hospital admissions and used qualitative methods including service user interviews and surveys, to engage with key stakeholders and hard-to-reach groups. The results provided a baseline to measure behaviour change throughout the project.

Two target audiences were identified: young adults and parents of infants. Using the insight, we developed a targeted campaign strategy, testing and refining our messages and creative concepts for each audience. The campaign included:

  •      Targeted Facebook and mobile phone advertising
  •      Outdoor advertising in carefully selected value for money locations
  •      Local radio advertising on the most listened to station by target audience
  •      Print assets including a matching pairs game and colouring sheets for children
  •      Stakeholder assets such as waiting room posters and digital screen presentations


The result

The Right Care First Time campaign produced:

  • Survey data (n 612) indicates a 12% reduction in the target audience between baseline and end point. This needs to be compared with end of year A&E data when available
  • A strong brand – a third of those asked could recall the campaign
  • 80,000 clicks generated to the NHS choices website
  • Over a million impressions, 9,350 clicks and a reach of over 200,000 people in the target area on Facebook


“We selected Hitch because of their insight driven approach and behaviour change expertise. Following a comprehensive research phase, the benefits of using a full service agency became clear as they delivered a targeted, fully integrated campaign across digital and social media, radio, outdoor, print, PR and stakeholder relations, using innovation and a mix of owned, earned and paid for media. The evaluation offered some excellent insights about the campaign, not least extremely positive campaign impact.”

Communications and Engagement Lead, CSU

  • Client: Mansfield and Ashfield & Newark and Sherwood CCGs
  • Website: .

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