University of Leicester and NHS collaborate on young peoples awareness of urgent care

A collaborative project between the University of Leicester and NHS organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and Derbyshire Health United has tested young people’s (18 – 25 year olds) awareness of NHS Urgent care services.

The research, developed and conducted by students on the School of Business MSc Marketing programme, found there was good recognition of when to call 999, but there was poor awareness and understanding of the NHS111 service.

Jit Parekh, Senior Social Marketing Manager at NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU explains: “The NHS111 service plays an essential role in helping people get the right treatment.  We encourage people to call this number when they need urgent care and are not sure which NHS service they need. Critically, the service will help people get the right treatment in the right place.

“We were particularly interested to find out what the level of awareness is of NHS11 amongst young people and how we could more effectively promote the service to this group of people.”

Christiana Tsaousi, Lecturer in Marketing and Consumption at our School of Business, explains further: “The students were asked to conduct a small scale research project with young people (age 18-25) to find out their awareness of the different NHS urgent care services and their use. Our students were instructed to analyse the findings and make some conclusions about young people's awareness of the 111 number.

“Using the findings, the students were tasked with developing a promotional campaign for this target audience, with the aim of raising the awareness of the 111 number.”

The results were presented to representatives from the NHS and Melanie Shilton Head of Communications at NHS Leicester City CCG said: “Not surprisingly social media featured in many of the ideas, particularly as a tool for peer to peer marketing.

“One group suggested a video competition for students to upload their own NHS 111 films with the winner chosen as the official video. Another group, responding to findings revealing that young people spend the majority of their spare time playing online games, developed an idea for their own NHS 111 game for smartphones and tablets.”

Jit added:  “I was really impressed with all the preparation and presentation from the students and some of the ideas they have given us great insight in developing them further to help us target messages for young people (18-25) in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”

Christiana added: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for students to work on a live project and develop skills in conducting and analysing research, group work, organisation and presentation skills. Thank you to Jit, Melanie and Rob Haines from the NHS for working with us.”