Much-loved local character Hoppy the Hippo has provided the inspiration for Walsall Healthcare’s winter campaign aimed at encouraging borough residents to use the most appropriate services for their needs.
Patient Experience administrator Chloe Danks worked with the trust’s communications team to come up with materials to promote a host of messages that tie in with NHS England and Public Health England’s #HelpUsHelpYou winter pressures campaign.
The winter months can be challenging for the NHS – especially for urgent care services – and people are being encouraged to take responsibility for their own health and make use of their pharmacist, extended GP hours and NHS 111.
Walsall Healthcare’s posters feature a version of Hoppy the Hippo, based on the stone sculpture created by John Wood. The stone hippo, installed in 1972 and currently outside Walsall’s Central Library, was named Hoppy by locals and at one point even had a facebook page!
Chloe, aged 20, who has worked for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust since 2014, said: “We thought Hoppy would strike a chord with the Walsall people of all ages who use our services while being consistent with the national campaign.
“The stone hippo is associated with the town and has proved quite a talking point over the years. We want to make sure people absorb our important health messages and thought that bringing Hoppy the Hippo to life would be an effective way to catch local people’s attention. I enjoyed working on the campaign and coming up with the initial drawings that were then adapted to form the focus of #HelpUsHelpYou.”
Hoppy the Hippo can be seen on a range of posters encouraging people to keep the Emergency Department free for those with serious and life-threatening conditions, wash their hands upon arriving and leaving the hospital to reduce the risk of bugs such as norovirus, to contact NHS 111 if they have an urgent medical need that isn’t an emergency, and visit their pharmacist for advice on minor illnesses.