An initiative first launched by Martha to save NHS prescription costs is now being used across Sussex for wider patient self-help messaging – #HelpMyNHS.
In early 2017, Sussex NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) needed a way to reach patients and GPs to deliver a positive message about how they could help the NHS save money on prescriptions for medicines that cost the health service way more than the cost of individuals buying them over the counter themselves.
Martha launched #HelpMyNHS to explain the costs associated with GP prescriptions for medicines that are also available to buy over the counter, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. A press and community launch in Brighton & Hove marked the start of what would become a staggered regional campaign.
The estimated benefit for frontline NHS services of not funding paracetamol and ibuprofen prescriptions was communicated through proactive press office activity, campaign infographics for social media and leaflets and posters for pharmacies and GP surgeries.
For example, the savings were equivalent to: 16 more community nurses; 108 more hip replacements; 26 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer; 400 more drug treatment courses for Alzheimer’s; or 416 more cataract operations in a year.
The media and public really got behind the initiative, resulting in 100% positive regional and national press coverage for a ‘funding cut’ story.