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Beat The Scrum recognised at NHS Sustainability Awards

The ‘Beat The Scrum’ campaign received a Special Commendation in the Best Innovation category at the 2018 NHS Sustainability Awards, which were held in London.

The campaign sees past and present Widnes Vikings stars, and legends of St Helens and Warrington Wolves, unite to help educate the public on how to choose the right services when they are injured or ill. The programme has been commissioned by the Mid-Mersey A&E Delivery Board, a coalition of NHS organisations that deliver or support local Accident and Emergency departments. It has been supported by Renova Developments, a specialist estates provider for the NHS. 

Beat The Scrum sees the players take part in a number of innovative online and PR campaigns, which aim to inform and inspire the public. A key objective of the initiative is to raise awareness of how by choosing local walk-in or urgent care centres in situations that aren’t serious or life threatening, instead of A&E departments, people can save themselves time and take pressure off local hospitals.

The campaign has a vital aim, with over 120,000 people from Warrington, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton unnecessarily visiting A&E departments in the 2016/17 year, at the cost of £10m. With Beat The Scrum programme generating more than 400,000 online video views and extensive local, national and regional coverage, as well as being heavily showcased at Super League games, it gives the NHS an important platform to engage with the public.

This award success coincides with the campaign featuring at the Magic Weekend event at St James’ Park, Newcastle, and the launch of a new Beat The Scrum video series. Key messages from the campaign will be featured across the famous football stadium, which will be home to all Super League teams this weekend. This will be followed by a new series of videos that sees rugby league supporters, staff and players share personal stories of how they have backed the initiative or been supported by the NHS.

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS FT says, “Beat the Scrum has been a really innovative campaign that has taken our ‘Make the Right Call (Choose Well)’ messages to a very diverse audience, many of whom we have struggled to reach in the past.   By making the campaign totally relevant to fans, the fun and impactful short films have been widely viewed and shared across multiple channels. We certainly could not have hoped to have reached and informed so many potential users with our traditional and very stretched NHS resources.  We congratulate the Vikings on their commendation, which is richly deserved and we look forward to working together again soon.”

Chris Houston, Co-Captain of Widnes Vikings, says: “It’s been an honour for our club to be part of a campaign that makes such a big difference to local NHS services and our communities. To know that the hard work of everyone who has contributed to the campaign has been recognised at a such prestigious event is something that we can all be proud of. I would like to thank all of the supporters who have played a massive role in this success.”

Paul Cullen, Warrington Wolves legend and former Head Coach of Widnes Vikings, says: “I was staggered when I learned about the number of unnecessary visits to A&E departments in our region last year. To know that A&E departments are facing this type of pressure, and that £10 million has been wasted as a result locally is shocking. I hope that the campaign raises real awareness of the brilliant services provided by local Walk-In Centre and Urgent Care services, which can help alleviate this strain.”

He continues, “We all need to play our part on reducing the burden on the NHS. That’s why I’m proud to have signed up as a Beat The Scrum Ambassador.”

Ray French, St Helens RFC legend and the voice of BBC Rugby League, says: “The NHS is there for us all when we need it most, so I’m proud to be part of a campaign that encourages us all to play our part in supporting this great institution. Simple decisions such as choosing to visit a walk-in centre instead of A&E can have a real benefit to both you and your NHS, so please get behind the campaign. The videos were great fun to be part of and I hope they make a big difference.”