Last week was Scottish Digital Health & Care week. As usual NMAHPS were straight down the middle of this promoting and sharing innovation around nursing, mid wives and AHP eHealth work. Here is a selection of some of the tweet. You can click on these to get some more info.

If you would like more information on eNMAHPs in Scotland click here


Use it or lose it. Social Media ain’t going away!

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-17-24-23As part of Scottish Digital Health & Care Week AHPScot is posting some videos about how Social Media is playing an ever growing part in the delivery of health and care. From TEDx to Annie Cooper……please enjoy.

We are aware of the irony that the technological advancement that is YouTube may well be blocked on NHS sites. Please let your IT departments know and see if they can help unlock these great resources.In the meantime send the blog home to access and read

If you want to know more about Digital Week click on the picture below.


Also at 8 pm on Monday 28th November @AHPScot will be supporting a Twitterchat on ‘How Nurses and AHPs can use technology to deliver the #2030NursingVision. Why not join us



Making a splash in Social Media



Social media tattoos



What if Dr House used Twitter?


And finally from an NMAHP perspective…..


Social Media and Me




Reflecting on World COPD Day 2016


Kerry McCready

Occupational Therapist, Glasgow Community Respiratory Team

Within the Glasgow Community Respiratory team, we decided to actively embrace World COPD day on the 16th November by organising an information point and bake sale.   The day was a great success, raising a total of £200.36 for British Lung Foundation and increasing awareness  via social media including live tweets from Glasgow City HSCP twitter  and photos on the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde facebook page.

Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 14.34.26.png

Staff were in high spirits, likely fuelled by high sugar levels and were speaking passionately about COPD and the ways in which our team support and enable people within their own homes to live healthier more active lives.    On reflection of the day however, it became apparent that the fun, motivation and enthusiasm that we felt on the day is often what our client group report to be missing from their own lives.

UnknownWe are aware of the fact that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating condition which impacts on everyday life.¬† We are aware that the Glasgow population are 45 % more likely to develop COPD than any other area in Scotland and that as other major causes of death in Scotland are reducing, COPD is the only major cause of death that continues to rise.¬† So, you would be right to say…it is no wonder there often limited, if no fun, motivation and enthusiasm in the lives of the patients we come across

You may be aware of COPD patients being admitted to hospital for antibiotics and steroid therapy, discharged home only to reappear weeks later.  Medically their needs may have been met in hospital, however the impact of repeated hospital admissions can wear people down not only physically  but also emotionally.

UnknownSimilarly, you may be aware of the COPD patient who despite breathlessness, can physically complete tasks, but at what expense to their overall lives?  Is using all your energy to prepare a meal worth it, when you don’t have the energy to eat it?  Or, would you use the same energy to get a taxi, to the local M&S cafe for a sandwich and a laugh with the staff?  Would you choose to have a shower to feel good about yourself; only to have no energy afterwards?  Or to do the ironing; only to feel exhausted that day and the next?

It is only when we get down to what really matters to that person, that it becomes clear.  All the examples given above are real life conversations I have had with patients.  Patients don’t always make the choices I would have made for myself.   For example, my ironing pile would definitely be left alone and M&S cafe would win hands down!  However, if we can enable that person, to think about the situation differently, new doors begin to open.

We often get past what people feel they should do, and get to the important things in life that will provide them with that sense of wellbeing and enjoyment.  Discussing what matters to them as individuals, promoting self management and enabling people to achieve their own personal goals, helps them to build confidence within their daily life.


Often as a little fun, motivation and enthusiasm are reintroduced, living with COPD, although continuing to provide challenges, can seem just a little bit more positive.

Move More Scotland

From our archives…two years ago. Are we moving more?


Move More Logo


By Hazel Robinson, Macmillan Walking Development Officer @HazelMRobinson


We now know that being active during and after cancer treatment improves both physical and emotional cancer outcomes and reduces isolation. However, we also know that many people with a diagnosis of cancer lack the confidence to exercise and are nervous about building up their activity levels. We are also aware that a lack of suitable activities in local areas prevents people from getting out and moving more.

Macmillan Cancer Support has developed Move More Scotland to provide practical support and help to those affected by cancer so they can remain active throughout their cancer treatment, and afterwards.

To ensure there is something for everyone, there are four programmes to choose from, all of which have been designed specifically for people affected by cancer.


A form of adapted Chi Gung, an ancient Chinese practice of aligning breathing, physical activity and mental and spiritual awareness, and can be done as a seated exercise so it is accessible for people of all ages and abilities.



Walking groups

Low level, short, sociable walks led by trained volunteers which provide a supportive and friendly environment to become more active. Delivered in partnership with Paths for all.




Circuit Classes

Group based circuit classes delivered by Level 4 trained fitness instructors with specialist cancer and exercise training.



GardeningCommunity Gardens

Based within the community, they provide an opportunity for low level activity through participation in gardening.





All programmes are led or supported by volunteers and there has been a huge amount of support of the Move More Scotland programme from external organisations. Working in partnership with local authorities has allowed us to deliver Move More within local community libraries and leisure venues. This has helped to deliver the programmes in an environment which is community based, trusted, and non-judgemental and ensures that the classes and groups are accessible and welcoming to all – some can even be attended by carers and family or friends.

We are already delivering programmes in Glasgow, Dundee and Fife, with Aberdeen and Edinburgh soon to follow.

For more information please contact mgreer@macmillan.org.uk.

It’s good to listen


By Corinna Davies, Communications Manager (Breathing Space & NHS Living Life)

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘It’s good to talk’. You may have even seen the BT advert in the ’90s which coined the slogan. Bob Hoskins’ famous delivery of those four simple words changed BT’s fortunes at the time. And they successfully celebrated the virtues of talking with loved ones to improve relationships.

I think we’re getting a bit better at talking about our feelings. I sometimes wonder whether the greater challenge is being good listeners?


2I’m not afraid to admit I sometimes struggle to be a an effective listener. Although most of us try to filter out our own thoughts and reactions when we are listening, it can be challenging not to immediately think of our own anecdotes or or experiences in response to what we hear. I have to stop myself anticipating what the person is going to say and instead truly focus on the words being spoken. Listening really is a skill.

Listening is the foundation of good communication


Relationships and friendships, where we feel listened to, can have a huge positive impact on our sense of wellbeing. Being listened to helps us to feel ‘connected’, contributing to improved feelings of self-worth, self-confidence and happiness. Talking through a problem with someone who is truly listening ¬†can help you to ‚Äėunburden‚Äô. For some it can feel like a weight¬†has been lifted off their shoulders.
In a mental health context, talking and listening are clearly very important. Mental ill-health is a major public health challenge in Scotland. One in four of us will experience
a mental health problem at some time in our lives. Being able to talk to someone about our thoughts, and feel that we are being heard, can be invaluable.


Sometimes it’s easier to talk about problems and emotions if¬† we don’t know the person who is doing the listening. Breathing Space is a free phone service, available in the evenings and weekends, for anyone experiencing difficulties in their life – trained advisors are able to offer listening and advice.

 Year of Listening campaign launched


3This year is Scotland’s Year of Listening. It’s an initiative led by Breathing Space and another mental health telephone service, NHS Living Life, alongside other national organisations. It aims to raise awareness that listening, and being listened to, is good for your mental health.


The campaign was launched in February 2016 and provides an opportunity for us all to demonstrate our commitment to be better listeners. Could you be a better listener?

I’ve chosen a few of my favourite quotes about listening¬†from the Year of Listening Pledge Board for this blog. The Pledge Board ¬†features snippets from a wide range of organisations and individuals across Scotland highlighting their own experience of listening and what listening means to them. They confirm to me that in addition to talking about problems and emotions, it is indeed ‘good to listen’.

If you would like to pledge your support to the Year of Listening campaign and to promoting listening skills you can email info@breathingspacescotland.co.uk with your own quote for the Pledge Board. There is a also Year of Listening pack available, with information about listening organisations and ways to improve your listening skills through organisations such as COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland), which is Scotland’s counselling skills charity.

You can also visit the Year of Listening Photo Gallery to see where the Year of Listening selfie sticks have travelled across Scotland.

Whether you are a friend, parent, sibling, spouse, neighbour or carer…

…take time to listen today.

Breathing Space is a free phone service available on 0800 83 85 87 for anyone feeling low, stressed or anxious. Open 6pm-2am (Mon-Fri) and 24 hours at the weekend.


NHS Living Life is a free phone service which offers appointments with a Self-help coach or Therapist to help individuals identify unhelpful ways of thinking and learn new ways of coping if they have been feeling low, stressed or anxious. To find out more about the service call 0800 328 9655.

Creative Engagement: Part 2


Creative Engagement: Part 2

By David Inglis.  Paediatric Dietitian [Twitter @inglis_86]


download (2)Last week I described potential ways to use common online practices to create engaging content for service users and the general public. This week focuses on how to signpost to content and getting your information seen by large audiences. The web provides a space to host content, signposting to which can reinforce learning or act as first line/early intervention resources, potentially reducing the need for referral and clinical contact.


b1It also offers the opportunity to change from a reactive model, whereby information is shared to an individual upon receipt of a referral is received, to a more proactive model, whereby answers to common service user issues can be hosted online. This has several benefits in that: it is a more efficient way of sharing information; the patient’s problems can be dealt with earlier (i.e. before a clinic appointment becomes available) which will reduce the chance of the problem escalating; it empowers patients and carers to find the solutions that p with their situation and lifestyle as opposed to them feeling dictated to; and could prevent the need for some patients to need to see clinicians, thus improving waiting times, DNA rates etc. Such resources are often viewed as a luxury addition however there is no reason, with appropriate piloting, they could not be embedded as part of standard pathways.



wayward markersBookmarking apps and websites, such as Pinterest and Symbaloo, enable health professionals to direct people to appropriate online content. Pinterest allows the collation of related sites into ‘boards’ which other users can view and follow as the content is updated. To use a nutrition example, recipes are a common theme amongst Pinterest users and it would be fairly straight forward to create an Allergy board, gather together appropriate common allergen-free recipes and share them with newly diagnosed patients. As more appropriate content is discovered the board can be added to keep users interested. Symbaloo uses a similar approach where links to relevant websites can be turned into buttons on a webpage, in this case known as a webmix, and these can also be shared.b2


This approach can also be replicated with video media on YouTube and Vimeo which are full of relevant content created by amateur videographers, healthcare institutions and professional groups. These videos contain many useful content for patient groups including practical solutions to common problems, education on health and nutrition, and documentary-style personal perspectives of living with health conditions to name just a few. Channels can be used to gather together relevant content and links to the channel can be shared with relevant groups; which would make useful asset mapping activities for our students!


image004Twitter can be another effective platform for signposting relevant content to your followers. It can sometimes be difficult for users to filter through the vast amount of tweets that are generated however your followers can set-up notifications to advise them of when your account produces activity. You can also create a regular hashtag which is added to your tweets and your followers can use this as a search term to find related content. For example, Allied Health Professionals with an interest in eHealth use #enmahp to advertise and monitor regular updates.


The value of signposting is that the internet is already full of useful resources and signposting to these saves healthcare staff from reinventing the wheel, as the creation of such content often requires lots of planning, applying for funding and impacts upon clinical time.


PeopleForums are an extremely popular way of problem solving on the internet. These replicate the way in which group sessions can be effective in the clinical setting whereby individuals in similar situations share experiences and solutions to common issues. This can often be a more facilitative environment for change than where people feel that they are being dictated too by professionals that have not walked in their shoes. Theoretically forums could confer significant benefit to healthcare as they facilitate empowerment and self-sufficiency of a community which ultimately could reduce the burden on services. Unfortunately, while effective suggestions are more likely to be shared and replicated more frequently than ineffective ones, forums are not moderated for the quality of information that is being provided which has the potential to lead to the spread of bad practice.

de5However these are places that the public like to go to access information. In the paediatric environment mumsnet.com is accessed by parents to answer questions they have significantly more often than any NHS website. An interview with Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts in 2013 reported that the site received almost 7 million visitors and amassed approximately 50 million page views a month. The Google Trends graphic below shows the comparative activity for NHS Choices, NHS Informs and Mumsnet as a Google search terms within the UK in the last five years. Given the numbers discussed above Mumsnet unsurprisingly comes out on top. Even people who do not communicate in forums will read discussions by others to get relevant information.

Given it is such a major medium for public engagement the idea of utilising forums within NHS platforms often comes up. However there are frequently concerns regarding governance and how these can be moderated to prevent the spread of inaccurate information and particularly the impression that the NHS is advocating this advice.

Rather than hosting our own forums perhaps the solution to this conundrum is to engage with the charities and companies that own forum sites to enable us to have input into this arena.


dei6Reddit is a widely used forum site where users can create communities and join discussions for every imaginable topic – I would highly recommend it to any Game of Thrones fans. A popular feature of Reddit is its AMA (Ask Me Anything) section, where celebrities and professional people advertise that they will be live blogging at a certain time on the site and invite questions from the public. This model would be a way to create content on sites such as Mumsnet which had a scientific backing to their claims and has the potential to be seen by millions of people. A few hours worth of work would cover a broad range of topics. One of my colleagues has worked in this manner for a cancer charity and has reported that it can be quite effective.


These blogs have described merely a handful of potential ways to creatively engage with the general public. One of the best things about working with digital technology is that the opportunities are fairly endless and you are really only limited by your imagination. Many of the things mentioned across the blogs, such as Twitter and YouTube, have now been in existence for a decade or more but healthcare can be slow to incorporate new media.

cropped-ahp-logo-3.jpgHowever health affects everyone and as AHPs who need to communicate with the public to be effective we should not be afraid to try to use social tools which may appear like fads, because like YouTube they may become an embedded part of daily life. Ultimately to converse with people you have to go to where they are and speak in their language.



Creative Engagement Part 1

download (1)

By David Inglis.  Paediatric Dietitian [Twitter @inglis_86]

UnknownIf the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, the quickest way to their head is probably through their wifi. The Office for National Statistics 2016 report on Internet Access found that 82% of adults accessed the web on an almost daily basis, a 4% increase from the previous year and 47% in the last decade.¬† There has also been a shift in the way that the internet is accessed with 71% of people using smartphones and other mobile phone devices, up from 53% in 2013, and this is now the primary mode of usage with only 40% using desktop computers. The second most common activity performed on the internet, after sending and receiving emails, is information gathering of goods and services. Investigating health-related information saw a 33 percentage points increase from the previous year to 51%.

Digital technology has changed the way that information is shared around the world and these figures would suggest a craving for accurate information about health and health-related services available at your fingertips. However as with many aspects of the internet, sources regarding health and nutrition are frequently misinformed, subject to personal bias or blatantly inaccurate.

As Allied Health Professionals we can play a key role in improving the quality of information that these groups access but engaging the public effectively in this domain requires us to adopt the communication styles utilised by web users. Social media platforms and common online practices offer the opportunity to creatively deliver and spread evidence-based information.

This is the first of two blog posts about spreading information in the digital space. This article focuses on potential ways of creatively engaging the general public through the generation and collation of online resources, and online marketing techniques. Next week will focus on getting your message seen by large numbers of people.

Blogging offers an opportunity to provide evidence based information in an informal and non-intimidating way. This provides a stark contrast compared to academic journals, which can be daunting to laypersons, and traditional media, which can often provide misleading and contradictory information.

Blogging also usually puts a personal perspective into a topic which adds to the informal nature and can put the information into a practical context for the reader. They can also contain graphics and videos which further illustrate the messages they want to get across. As blogs sit in the digital space they can be accessed at any time and shared by the professional and the reader via social media, with the potential to educate millions without the need for referral to a service. This creates a dynamic and interactive resource and this is one of many online tools which has the potential to make paper leaflets obsolete.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 16.40.01Some websites use a phenomenon known as ‘clickbait’ as a means of enticing users to their sites. This is content which is so alluring as to be difficult to resist clicking on the link. Sites that employ this tactic usually have a high advertising to content ratio which users can find irritating, however the technique is undeniably effective and could be used to attract readers to health-promoting articles. Examples could include:



  • Five must-read ways to maintain you’re Vitamin D levels this winter
  • Ten evidence-based ways to trim a few pounds
  • The secret to being heart healthy

Created content could be scheduled to fit with certain times of the year, like the winter example, or with events, like World IBD Day or National Obesity Awareness Week, to optimise their effectiveness and provide maximum awareness of an issue.

de2Another popular technique which translates well to blogs and social media are Life Hacks. Life Hacks provide novel practical advice to people and are popular because they tend to show¬† ways of using everyday items that are simple but most people would not have been able to imagine. One of the most difficult areas of advice giving is translating complex scientific theoretical knowledge into practical suggestions which fit in with an individual’s way of life. Collating and creating pieces of simple practical advice, framing them as Life Hacks and hosting them within a blog page would help empower patients to choose the advice that best fits their lifestyle. The example shown is a life hack that could be used for healthy eating on a budget and, for Dietitians, think how much easier the ENFit transition could have been with such resources.¬†From lifehack.org


Life hacks can also be a good way of engaging service users as you can encourage them to create their own and then, for the ones which are safe and reliable, your service can promote them using social media streams (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc). This prevents the burden of creating such content falling solely onto healthcare staff. People also tend to be more compliant with advice when they feel that it comes from someone in a similar situation to them, than they do from a perceived authority figure.

de3A similar way to creatively engage and educate the pubic are memes. Memes are a good example of the way that information spreads through a society. Traditionally they are ideas and  behaviours which are passed from person to person and are believed to proliferate and evolve in a manner similar to population-level genetic expression. Modern memes in social media are depictions, usually involving both images and words, of societal opinions which reflect shared experiences or ubiquitous attitudes and beliefs. These provide reference points to which other members of a community can relate and ultimately can result in the bonding of members without the need for personal acquaintance. These have become popular cultural tools because they are easily digestible, often humorous and are in a good format to be readily shared via social media. As such, the images used in memes are frequently reproduced by others with new tag lines reflecting a similar theme or emotion. This convention provides the opportunity for healthcare professionals to use recognised memes to access social consciousness and be advocates for our agenda.


de4Memes have the potential to go viral and can be a useful way of raising awareness of an issue as popular ones will be seen by millions of people in a short space of time. If used effectively they could be powerful tools to engage the general public, using a format in which they like to communicate, as well as facilitating bonding both inter- and intra-professionally with relatable experiences.


The above are examples of how health professionals can create and share evidence-based practical content in an engaging way for service users and the general public, moving away from the more static paper-based medium.

Check in next week for suggestions on how to share and signpost to appropriate content created by third parties, and how to get your message to reach a large number of people in the digital space.