NHS unveils family of ‘plasticine people’ for winter advert campaign

Mon 14th November 2016

 Meet Carol and Eric, part of a new family of ‘plasticine people’ who will be introduced to the North East public for the first time this week through a new NHS advertising campaign.

The characters are the first of nine friendly faces who will help the region’s NHS through the challenges of winter, by helping people to make the best use of stretched NHS services – as well as taking better care of themselves and their health.

The charming clay friends, who will be gradually unveiled over the coming weeks, will appear in web and social media advertising sharing a series of helpful messages around NHS services and how to take control of your health needs.

“We know that people value the NHS, but they often find it confusing and find it hard to navigate,” said Ian Renwick, joint chair of the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network and Chief Officer of Gateshead Hospital Trust.

“Over the past year we have carried out detailed research into the way people use services, how they decide which to use, and what has the most impact in influencing those choices. We all have a role to play in safeguarding the NHS by using the right service for our needs, and the plasticine people provide a friendly way to get that important message across.”

Carol and Eric make their first appearances through Facebook and targeted web adverts from Monday 14 November, to coincide with National Self-Care Week, with further plasticine pals making a bow during the winter, the NHS’s busiest time of year.

People in the region will be able to follow the plasticine people on Twitter @staywellNE, as well as helping to name the new characters as they are unveiled.

The plasticine people will help to highlight good self-care, raise awareness of the expert advice available free at every pharmacy in the region, and promote the new NHS Child Health app, which helps parents of under-fives look after their children’s health.

The campaign has been developed by the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network, with funding from the NHS New Models of Care programme and the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Dr Stewart Findlay, joint chair of the North East Urgent Care Network and Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical CCG, said: ‘We wanted to create a campaign that people could relate to, and these characters have an instant appeal and warmth about them.

“The characters make it possible to address difficult issues in a direct way, and we hope people across the North East enjoy getting to know them over the coming months.”

The network, which is supported by NHS bodies across the region, is working to improve urgent and emergency care services in the North East.

Its initiatives so far include improving the NHS 111 service through extra clinical support, new ‘flight deck’ technology for more sophisticated management of emergency care capacity across the region, and the new child health smartphone app. To download the app, search for ‘NHS child health’ in Google Play or the App Store.