Alongside the guide, an online training course and communications plan was adopted in the July meeting of the chairs and chief executives of every NHS ambulance service in the UK.
Lena Samuels, chair of AACE Council and also South Central Ambulance Service, said that the communications teams of all ambulance trusts had their backing to implement the plan and online training in support of the using social media.
Ambulance services have been under fire for their use of social media, which has also seen a parallel rise in keyboard warriors who hide behind the anonymity of fake or parody accounts to insult others and bring down ambulance staff by branding them as self-promoters.
Mark Cotton, chair of NACOM and assistant director of communications at North East Ambulance Service, said:
This was part of the reason why we chose to come together to develop this guidance. Communications leads and medical directors have collaborated over the last year to produce what we consider to be the most comprehensive document from the ambulance services yet on the dos and don’ts when on social media.
The social media guidance was jointly produced by the National Ambulance Service Medical Directors’ group (NASMED) and the National Ambulance Communications Group (NACOM). Frontline ambulance staff, NHS England and the HCPC have also been consulted on the guide.
These guidelines are not intended to replace the social media policy in individual trusts, but to provide a consistent and safe approach for all staff using social media.
Online training, which will be rolled out to all NHS ambulance trusts, focuses on the personal use of social media accounts by ambulance employees. In addition, communications teams will offer further support and training in those trusts where social media is also used as a corporate communications tool.