Transformation Unit

Healthier Together Consultation

Consultation Design and Implementation

The Client

Healthier Together is part of the wider transformation programme being led by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body responsible for overseeing health and social care devolution in the city region.

The Challenge

Healthier Together spans 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), 10 Local Authority areas, 8 acute hospital providers and 10 hospital sites.

Following the development of a robust Greater Manchester case for change, we developed a model of care for specialist A&E care and emergency general surgery (abdominal surgery) which will ensure the NHS in Greater Manchester provides quality specialist services that are equitable, safe and sustainable for future generations.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 states that NHS bodies have a legal duty to involve and consult when developing proposals to change the way in which services are provided. On this basis, before commissioners could consider implementing a substantial change to the way services were delivered, they had to listen to the views and opinions of the public and stakeholders by undertaking a formal public consultation.

Our Approach

We undertook extensive engagement with local clinicians, stakeholders, patients and the public to help shape the model of care leading up to the development of viable options that were taken forward to consultation.

We implemented an extensive communications and engagement programme using a variety of methods and channels. The objectives of the consultation were to:

  1. Improve local understanding about current provision of healthcare services across Greater Manchester;
  2. Generate awareness and understanding around the case for change for the redesign of the in-scope services;
  3. Work in partnership with CCGs and local authorities to provide opportunities for active, open and meaningful dialogue, allowing patients and the public to respond to the consultation in a range of formats (online, via post, or face-to-face at public meetings);
  4. Position the dialogue in the context of whole system reform (primary care, integrated care and in-hospital care); and
  5. Create a movement in which Greater Manchester citizens are motivated to become involved with deciding what future services will look like.

We worked closely with each Greater Manchester locality to tailor activities to ensure it was appropriate for local populations.  A number of events were designed to seek the views of specific population groups including people with protected characteristics, such as young people, ethnic minorities and people from the LGBT community.

We implemented a proactive and reactive public relations campaign to complement the communication and engagement strategy.  Our public relations campaign allowed us to reach a large audience through mass media without the expense of embarking on a traditional advertising and marketing route.

Two waves of on-street quantitative research were conducted in each district, pre-consultation and post consultation.  The objectives of the research were: to track awareness of the need for healthcare reform in Greater Manchester; to create compelling content to drive interaction via the social media strategy; to track awareness of the consultation; and to gather intelligence to inform the consultation and campaign delivery.


Over 23,000 people formally responded to the Healthier Together consultation.  In addition, there were 5,248 signatures on three petitions, 658 responses from a household survey, 96 written responses and 894 pledges. This was the largest public response to a regional consultation about health services conducted in England to date.

  • We managed a complex stakeholder landscape with over 100 key stakeholders including MPs, Leaders and Chief Executives of Local Authorities and Chief Executives of Acute Providers.
  • Over 450 engagement events and activities were held in every district, attracting over 23,000 people.
  • Over 650 media articles were generated across all platforms including TV, print, radio and internet.
  • Over 50,000 unique visitors to the Healthier Together website were recorded.
  • We utilised 7 social media platforms, engaging with over 8,500 people and organisations online.
  • Over 200,000 consultation documents were distributed to hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies, Sure Start Centres, places of worship, libraries and at events.
  • Post consultation research showed that awareness of Healthier Together had doubled, with 25 per cent of the Greater Manchester population having knowledge of it.

For more information about the Healthier Together Programme, visit:

amazing1 - best care for me - NHS-TU
best care for me - NHS-TU
Stockport Debate 1 - healthier together - NHS-TU