Cheers: NHS PgCert-HC Cohort 4 celebrates graduation at Missenden Abbey in October 2018. Lynn Viatge (front, second left), head of BNU’s school of health and social sciences (CHCR’s home base), made the awards.
The NHS Postgraduate Certificate in Health Communications (PgCert-HC) was launched in 2015. It addresses a partly-unmet UK market need for a ‘gold-standard’ course. One which provides a comprehensive and high-level skill-set for senior communicators in health and social care. Here you can:
- Access the latest flyer for Cohorts 06-09 (2019-20)
- Find a graphic overview of the course (scroll down)
- Register your interest in future courses here.
Course development and structure
Commissioned by the UK National Health Service (NHS), the course was designed and developed by the senior CHCR team in collaboration with the communications development group at the NHS Trust Development Authority (now NHS Improvement).
It is taught in four intensive residential weeks: three at the University’s Missenden Abbey conference centre and one in collaboration with the University of Huddersfield Business School. There are regular appearances by senior guest lecturers/speakers from both the NHS and the wider public and commercial sectors.
The course inverts the conventional process which begins with external communications (e.g. media). It recognises, instead, that at the highest levels in health and social care, effective communications is always founded at the interpersonal level. The PgCert-HC comprises four modules: interpersonal, engagement, leadership and external communications (see graphic below).
Cohorts 06 and 07 ran in 2019. Cohorts 08 and 09 are current (May 2021) and running several months late – having transferred online due to the C19 pandemic. They are expected to graduate in October 2021. Details regarding later cohorts are pending.
Equips students with the personal confidence and necessary verbal and non-verbal skills to:
- Principles & core verbal/non-verbal skills
- Relationships & rapport
- Meetings, conflict & negotiation
- Coaching, mentoring and knowledge transfer.
(Staff, Patient & Community)
Applies the inter-personal skill-set to address:
- Engagement principles & the data platform
- Patient experience & communications
- Staff, change, culture & campaigns
- Behaviour change and community engagement
- Social marketing.
Founded on issues management and brand narrative, the final module returns to the external dimension to introduce key models and applications across:
- Corporate and financial communications
- Public affairs
- Social communications and CSR
- Risk, reputation management and crisis communications
- Innovation: social and digital communications.
Equips the health communicator with the necessary competencies to act as a senior/board level adviser in health and social care organisations including:
- Strategic communications leadership
- Vision, law & ethics
- Strategic marketing & services
- Data, digital and security.
Preparing for the Future: NHS Communications
Good communications and engagement is at the heart of how the NHS engages with patients, public, communities and our staff. The leadership and expertise provided by professional communicators has a vital role to play in improving the patient experience.
Our NHS communicators are leading innovation on a daily basis, whether by delivering high profile campaigns that lead to desired behaviour change, leading public consultation and engagement, or providing high quality information to patients. If you aspire to leadership in NHS communications and engagement, this bespoke NHS Postgraduate Certificate in Health Communications can help prepare you to achieve your ambition. It aims to develop both strong practitioners and future leaders.
The course seeks to improve among other key objectives, your strategic understanding, planning and delivery of organisational and system objectives. It aims to improve your skills, methods and understanding of ‘what good looks like’. It also focuses on developing your soft skills including confidence building, decision making, ‘managing up’ as well as your understanding of legal and NHS policy frameworks for major service change. The joint NHS Improvement and NHS England communications development programme is committed to continuous learning, supporting the development of operational skills and strategic leadership in communications and engagement across the NHS system. We recognise that with the need to meet growing expectations from patients, to involve staff in transforming ways of working and to work closely with stakeholders and partners to deliver safe and effective local health services in every community, the role of NHS professional communicators is crucial.
Head of NHS Communications Development Programme