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‘Save the Royal Surrey County Hospital’ PR campaign

‘Save the Royal Surrey County Hospital’ PR campaign

Chazbrooks Communications PR and Marketing case study

A PR awareness campaign organised to prevent the closure of a local hospital in Surrey
 
Background
 
Opened as one of the first NHS Trusts in 1991, The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford now treats over 260,000 patients a year and employs more than 3,400 staff. 
 
The Trust has 20 wards that include general and specialist surgery, obstetrics, paediatrics, oncology, orthopaedics, general and specialist medicine, intensive care and coronary care, with 570 beds in total.
 
Unfortunately, The Royal Surrey County Hospital, including St. Luke’s Cancer Centre, is currently under review by the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority, which  is considering options including the total or partial closure of the hospital.
 
CBC volunteered to promote awareness of the Save the Royal Surrey Hospital Campaign in the media.
 
Challenge
 
CBC needed to identify and publicise the key messages that would help to raise awareness about the Campaign amongst key influencers in this area, not only in order to raise funds for the fight to save the hospital, but also to persuade local residents to get involved in the Campaign.
 
The media's role in this promotion would be key, if news of the Campaign were to reach the widest possible audience.  CBC needed to find a fresh, interesting approach that would help the Campaign gain maximum media attention.
 
Strategy
 
CBC decided to organise both the sponsorship as well as the subsequent media exposure of a charity car rally in order to draw attention to the Save the Royal Surrey Hospital Campaign.

CBC also wanted to raise awareness of the Campaign's online petition, available via the 'E-Petitions' page on the No. 10 Downing Street website.
 
The charity car rally was chosen as a fun, creative and – most importantly – effective way of attracting media attention.  This approach would also provide the potential for strong photography to accompany the story.

Implementation

CBC organised both the sponsorship and subsequent media exposure of the charity car rally, and even arranged for the car's creative branding to highlight the Campaign sponsors' support for the "Save the Royal Surrey Hospital" initiative.
 
CBC also arranged a major photo shoot in Guildford with a number of local dignitaries attending, including the Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Angela Gunning, Anne Milton MP for Guildford, the Leader of Guildford Borough Council, the Regional Manager of The Chamber of Commerce, as well as the hospital's campaign leader, drivers, and sponsors.
 
Results
 
Local press coverage was significant.  The area's largest newspaper, the Surrey Advertiser, published a half-page feature on the charity car rally and the Save the Royal Surrey Hospital Campaign, complete with high-impact photography, and also ran a news story appealing for businesses to contribute to the Campaign.
 
Local radio also seized on the story, with 96.4 The Eagle Radio running several news pieces regarding the campaign.
 
Articles also appeared in Guildford Life magazine, the Surrey Chamber magazine and London's Metro newspaper.

Conservative leader David Cameron MP also recently visited the Royal Surrey Hospital, learning first hand about the healthcare provided at the hospital, and about the threat of cuts to services.

AJR
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