How communications leaders stepped up during the pandemic

Ross Wigham profile picture

11 September 2020

Ross Wigham
Deputy director of communications
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


In the last few months a whole lexicon of new words and phrases have entered the popular public discourse – furlough, new normal, Zoom, lockdown, Test and Trace, bio-secure bubble - all things we probably never even considered this time last year.

Language and communications change fast, but as we have seen time and again in 2020, they have never been more important.

The last six months have thrown up some of the biggest challenges of our careers but equally our work has never been more important.

Ross Wigham    Deputy director of communications

I suspect for most of us, the last six months have thrown up some of the biggest challenges of our careers but equally our work has never been more important or perhaps as well recognised by our own organisations.

Despite these challenges, traumas and difficulties, good communications have been at the very heart of the response of hospitals, community services, ambulance providers and mental health teams right across the country.

As national chair of the NHS Providers' communications leads group and also an NHS communicator on the coal face, I have never been prouder of the profession and everything you're doing to support your teams, colleagues and the public in these difficult times.

I have never been prouder of the profession and everything you’re doing to support your teams, colleagues and the public in these difficult times.

Ross Wigham    Deputy director of communications

It's been a traumatic and sometimes tragic time for many of us but it has been heartening to see how people in the NHS community have come together to offer support and solidarity, while still delivering outstanding communications to local audiences.

I've managed to catch up with many of you across the country during the pandemic and I've been so proud to hear of all the work you've been doing under extraordinary pressure. It goes to prove what we've always known about strong communications and public relations being so vital, especially during times of crisis.

I’ve been so proud to hear of all the work you’ve been doing under extraordinary pressure.

Ross Wigham    Deputy director of communications

As we prepare for the next phase of this pandemic and the challenging winter period it feels like a good time to reflect and consider some of the lessons we have learned so far.

Like many of you I have missed the opportunity to meet colleagues and friends at our usual comms leads sessions in London but we have now arranged a special session entitled 'In the eye of the storm', taking place on the first day of the NHS Providers Annual Conference and Exhibition, which this year is taking place remotely on 6, 7 and 8 October. It will look at some of the challenges, experiences and lessons learned from NHS communication professionals during COVID-19 and there will be the opportunity to share local stories and ask questions.

I hope many of you will be able to join us on 6 October but please do get in touch with me if you have any other comments, suggestions, ideas or just want to say hello.

About the author

Ross Wigham profile picture

Ross Wigham
Deputy director of communications

Ross is also the chair of our communications leads network.

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