Lisa Ramshaw, Director, Communications & Marketing

The Communications & Marketing team at APHA have been as busy as ever in 2012, ensuring that we are continually showcasing the value of private hospitals to the wider Australian community.

Our third annual Private Hospitals Week was held from 26-30 March 2012 with 185 private hospitals across the country taking part. The support of our champions at each hospital proved vital once again as these special ambassadors ensured that thousands of brochures, posters, stickers, streamers and balloons were utilised at their facilities. They also organised events with over 60 events registered with APHA – including barbeques, nutrition sessions, open days and morning and afternoon teas. However, once PHW was in full swing and hospitals began sending in photos, it was apparent that there were many more than 60 events nationwide. In a survey of hospital champions conducted after PHW, we received some excellent feedback:

“’No excuse not to celebrate (Private Hospitals Week) – it’s our business and very fortunate to have a body such as APHA to support our industry the way it does.” – Campaign Champion survey April 2012

“The resources provided were excellent. Will continue running campaign until end of April 2012.” – Campaign Champion survey April 2012

“A very thorough campaign with lots of information to hold an event, raise community awareness.” – Campaign Champion survey April 2012

Part of the work in Private Hospitals Week centred around social media and increasing hospital awareness and use of social media. This has become a trend throughout the year, not just in PHW. I have worked with a number of individual hospitals and groups this year to educate their staff about the potentials and pitfalls of social media. I also presented a workshop on social media to the New Zealand Surgical Private Hospitals Association’s March members’seminar.

Even though social media continues to grow, we have maintained our focus on other means of communicating with our APHA hospital members. Private Hospital magazine is subscribed to by a record number of people and we continue to receive excellent feedback from members about this publication. We increased the publication schedule from five editions per year to six editions this year which has been met with widespread approval from contributors, readers and our advertisers.

Many of our advertisers in the magazine are also APHA sponsors and associate members. It is through the support of our Diamond Sponsor, HESTA Super Fund, and major sponsors Baxter, BD, Covidien, Forbo Flooring, Fresenius, Gow-Gates Insurance, ME Bank, Mӧlnlycke and Olympus Australia, that we are able to conduct our many activities.

In October this year, APHA and our member hospitals marked Mental Health Week for the first time as a sector-wide event. With a theme of ‘What do you know….about Mental Health?’ we attempted to educate Australians on four specific mental health conditions commonly treated in the private sector: Eating Disorders, Depression, Anxiety and Substance Abuse. Our materials also suggesting checking private health insurance policies to ensure they were covered for mental health issues. Through the use of quiz cards, posters, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube we were able to conduct a very successful campaign.

I have many people to thank this year for their support. Firstly, the APHA Board members who have supported the ideals of the Valuing Private Hospitals campaign and have allowed me to grow the campaign over the past three years. Secondly, the many champions out in our member hospitals who although they have ‘real’jobs at their facilities, they make the time to hang up posters, post photos and stories on our Facebook page , create events during Private Hospitals Week and Mental Health Week and support the idea of promoting the private health care sector.

I’d also like to thank the members of APHA Communications & Marketing taskforce for their efforts and their time in guiding the promotional activities of APHA. Taskforce members included:

  • Alan Cooper, (Chair), Friendly Society Private Hospital
  • Anne Crouch, Eye-Tech Day Surgeries
  • Robert Cusack, St Vincent’s Private Hospital
  • Belinda Hughes, UnitingCare Health
  • Carmel Monaghan, Ramsay Health Care
  • Kathy Nagle, Western Hospital
  • Geoff Sam, Healthe Care
  • John Tucker, Nepean Hospital

And finally, I’d like to thank Rebecca Angove and Lyndal Bailey who were both in the role of Communications Officer for part of the year. It is thanks to them that I’ve stayed on track and our team has been able to be as effective as it has been.

I look forward to continuing our work on behalf of APHA members in 2013.