Communications Development Programme


We've designed this programme with NHS England to support NHS communicators across all levels.

Postgraduate Certificate in Health Communications

Who should apply

The bespoke NHS communications qualification is a part-time post-graduate course that would benefit those from Band 7 and 8 who wish to develop their knowledge and who aspire to positions of leadership in NHS professional communications. The course may also suit an ambitious and talented Band 6, although this would require particular competencies. 

Course topics

The course consists of four week-long modules, which address external, interpersonal, internal and management/leadership communications. The course has been designed to reflect the current challenges facing senior communicators and communications teams, whether working in a provider organisation, a clinical commissioning group or in one of the new Sustainability and Transformation Partnerhsip (STP) footprints.

Key topics covered include:

  • influencing at board level

  • social marketing

  • crisis communications

  • how to develop and evaluate effective campaigns

  • the Francis commitment to openness, transparency and candour and much more   

The four weeks of residential teaching is spread over the academic year and held at Missenden Abbey, Buckinghamshire New University and includes:

  • lectures and exercises

  • input from senior professional NHS communicators, guest keynote speakers and communications experts from inside and outside of healthcare

Funding bursary

Committed to supporting NHS communicators, we're offering a 50% match-funded bursary to all those accepted onto the course. The remainder of the fees must be covered by the student’s organisation. We've run three successful cohorts to date with cohort 4 starting in September 2016. 

Applications for cohort 5 are now open. Find out more and register.

If, subsequently, you have any detailed queries please email

Communications and engagement sessions: Health and Care Innovation Expo 17

We hosted the following two sessions:

  • Masterclass on public consultation and engagement
    Claire Riley from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and John Underwood from the Centre for Health Communications Research led a two hour session share case studies from Cumbria supported by Kath Hughes, Head of Engagement & Communications at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust,  Rhea Heron, Head of Communications at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Julie Clayton, Head of Communications & Engagement North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group

  • Planning for unplanned events 
    Phil Groves, Deputy Director, Strategy, Operations and Incident Response at NHS Improvement, led a two hour session on crisis communications, supported by Karen Coleman from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).   

If you’d like to find out more about these sessions please email

Regional communications and engagement workshops

Our bi-monthly regional communications and engagement development workshops cover key topics of interest to NHS communicators with the aim of supporting communications teams and increasing capability.  

We aim to improve practical skills as well as understanding of the more strategic elements of communications and engagement vital to delivering NHS objectives locally, regionally and nationally. There are 50 places per workshop and they are free to attend.

Please email to reserve a place on a first come first served basis.

Date Region/Venue Topic
26 September 2017 (fully booked) Broadway House, Tothill Street, London SW1N 9NQ The importance of evaluation for NHS communicators: how to use evaluation in communications and engagement
21 November 2017 The Studio, 7 Cannon Street, Birmingham B2 5EP The future of NHS communications: the importance of social marketing
16 January 2018 Broadway House, Tothill Street, London SW1N 9NQ Organisational culture: how NHS communications and engagement teams impact upon organisational culture

Mentoring scheme

Our mentoring programme is currently in development and aims to support all NHS communicators, at every level. The aim is for senior NHS communications, engagement and marketing professionals to mentor those in their local area or region. Although most of our mentors work or have worked in senior positions in the NHS many of our mentors come from health charities, national bodies and large third sector organisations.

If you're interested in mentoring either as a mentee or becoming a mentor please email We intend to run workshops for prospective mentors later this year.

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