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Paramedics spend their time rushing from one emergency to another. They spend little time in one place and barely visit their headquarters, so communicating with them is a tough task.


The East of England Ambulance Service Trust have come up with a rolling news service called Need To Know and it seems to be working.

“Getting ambulance staff to access internal comms has been a challenge,” admits Sophie Taylor, internal communications officer at the trust.

Paramedics generally work 12-hour shifts once on the road, the calls keep coming thick and fast and a return to their ambulance station is unlikely.

If they’re lucky, there might be a 30-minute lunch break…so there’s very little time to catch up with news from their employer.

Until last year the trust published a weekly update either by emailing a PDF or as an ezine and Sophie says: “A lot can change in a week! We knew if we could provide something they could look at every day, they would probably take more notice.

“It was also vital they could access it from anywhere. The old newsletter could only be accessed from a trust computer, whereas the new site can be accessed via tablet or smartphone anywhere there’s an internet connection.”

In April 2014 Sophie launched Need To Know, a rolling news service, updated daily and accessible 24 hours a day from work, home or on the move. It was the brainchild of her colleague, Tara Crabtree.

“Articles get published daily and crews can check it at different times and we try to make sure there’s a new story every time they go to it,” she explains.

“Although there’s only Tara and I working in IC, there’s a whole comms team and we can draw on their material. There’s always lots of material - we cover everything from light stuff like paramedics raising money for charity, or someone leaving, to clinical news or case studies of incidents that have happened.”

Need To Know was developed following a survey of all 4,000 trust staff - around 25% of staff took part, and 80% said they’d use a rolling news site.

The IC team uses Google Analytics to see what provokes most interest – and when stories are read.

“We want to provide news that staff want to read, and being able to access the readership figures is vital,” explains Sophie. “We also set up stories to go live at the right time to generate interest and keep the site updated over the weekend.”

With Need To Know now just over a year old, the stats are impressive:

  • There have been 1.5million page views
  • Average session is 4 mins 11 secs
  • More than 114,000 sessions were on tablet or mobile

IoIC members read the full feature about the Eat of England Ambulance Service Trust’s rolling news service in July’s InsideOut, the Institute’s free monthly magazine. Members should log in at the top right of this screen. You’ll then find InsideOut in ‘IoIC Knows’ – simply click on ‘Publications’ in the drop-down menu.

Also in July’s issue we take a look at:

  • The importance of communicating directly with older employees
  • Ask ‘are you a However communicator?’
  • What happens when social media goes wrong?
  • The power of thanks, and
  • Learning company Pearson go under the Sector Spotlight.
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