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NHS sets up public-controlled Twitter voice



Health service turns to social media to convey perspectives of patients and frontline workers

NHS England wants to hear more about what real patients experience as they use the national health service - and thinks social media could really help.

It has teamed up with Twitter in the shape of a new account, @NHS, planning to turn over the account to a to new NHS patient or frontline worker every week in a bid to "report first hand their experience of the health service".

The service was launched by a consultant paramedic, Dan Smith, who works at the North West Ambulance Service (watch video here).

Its first 'curator' is a cancer patient named Richard Orchard, who is quoted on the NHS England website as hoping that "some of my experiences will strike a chord with fellow cancer patients to let them they're not alone."

"This is a fantastic opportunity for our much valued patients and NHS staff to hold a magnifying glass to the system," commented the chief nursing officer for England, Jane Cummings.

"From patients to paramedics, the people taking control of the account will be sharing powerful stories and experiences that others will be able to relate to and empathise with," added head of news and government partnerships at Twitter UK, Rob Owers, who said their stories will be seen by all 18 million British Twitter users.

@NHS follows in a growing global tradition of such publicly owned accounts, like @sweden and  @ireland, which similarly are open to the public to use on a rotating basis.


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