How we used music to engage with our target audience

Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals Charity

As a major health care provider and a GBCC Patron, we often need to think of new and inventive ways to engage with our patients, families and stakeholders at Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Trust.

Being responsible for the care of over 530,000 local people presents us with many unique challenges. For example, our 7,500+ employees are seeing an increasing number of patients with one or more long-term conditions - which has contributed to an 11% rise of attendances at our emergency services in the last year alone.

So we - and the NHS - need to do things differently, and we’d like to share one idea of when we thought outside the box, and managed to raise awareness of a new way which enhances patient care.

‘Singing therapy’ is a clinically proven concept that helps the recovery and rehabilitation of patients, with a recent study from Wales showing that singing as part of a choir for just one hour can boost levels of immune proteins in cancer patients. SWBH has ambitions to roll this out across our own sites - including the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital, a forthcoming ‘super A & E’ for our acutely unwell patients. However, the NHS is unable to fund singing therapy - and so we turned to our charity for help.

Our registered charity - Your Trust Charity - aims to raise funds for ‘added value’ activities that fall outside of NHS statutory funding, and so raising money for signing therapy is a perfect fit. However, our Head of Trust Charity took things one step further at the recent Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k. Not only did he complete the race whilst singing with his guitar, but he also performed the Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album - in costume - throughout the race, to mark the 50th year anniversary of its release.

In total, SWBH had 11 fellow runners out of 9,000 participants for the race, to raise money and awareness of singing therapy, as well as other added value activities at our new hospital – including a paediatric sensory room, and a summer concert programme. To date over £2,250 has been raised - which will help us to create many more ‘SWBH moments’ for our patients and families that are not possible without charity funding.

So we would encourage you to use community events - and embrace your own eccentricities - if you want to engage with your target audience and make yourselves stand out from the crowd. Alternatively, you are more welcome to bring your own musical ideas to us!

To find out more please click here

Johnny Shah, Head of Your Trust Charity