Using ChatHealth for Children’s Diabetes Support

ChatHealth was implemented by the Children’s Diabetes Team at Locala Health & Wellbeing in June 2021 to enable patients and their families to directly contact their Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses for support.

Organisation: Locala Health and Wellbeing
Children’s Diabetes Team


The Children’s Diabetes Team at Locala Health & Wellbeing cover the area of North Kirklees in West Yorkshire. The team consists of two Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses providing support to children aged 0-19 who have diabetes and their families as well as to nurseries and schools working with children who have diabetes.

With a caseload of more than 100 patients, the Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurses help children with diabetes and their families to learn about diabetes in all aspects of their life through regular contact and when urgent advice is needed. The main way to contact the team was to call Locala’s Single Point of Contact telephone line. However, patients and parents and carers needed a quicker way to contact the service directly when they needed help or advice. They expressed a desire to communicate via text message, but the nurses could not share their work mobile numbers due to the clinical safety risk of being contacted out of hours or when unavailable to respond.


ChatHealth was recommended to the Locala Children’s Diabetes Team by their colleagues in the Thriving Kirklees 0-19 Service who had already implemented messaging services for young people aged 11-19 and parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-19. Locala Sexual Health service were also setting up ChatHealth during this time. Setting up their own ChatHealth messaging service would enable the Children’s Diabetes team to safely offer confidential help and advice via text to patients on their caseload.

The award-winning ChatHealth messaging platform was developed by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 and has now been adopted by more than 80 NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations. The robust safety and security features offered by ChatHealth helped the Children’s Diabetes Team feel confident in deciding to set up a messaging service. With both nurses having access to a shared inbox, no messages would be missed and as an agile service they could receive and reply to messages, no matter where they were working, when connected to the HSCN network (Health and Social Care Network). ChatHealth’s project team at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, provided project management support throughout the service’s implementation which was followed by staff user training on using the ChatHealth platform to respond to messages. One of the Children’s Diabetes Nurses, Kate Scott, gave positive feedback on the implementation:

“It was very easy. We had training and support all the way through and have not looked back since!”

The Children’s Diabetes team launched their ChatHealth messaging service in June 2021, offering it to the parents and carers of children and young people on their caseload and to the young people themselves who had their own phones. The messaging number was shared on patient appointment letters, with key information about using the messaging service, including response times, emergency contacts and confidentiality policies. The messaging service was set up to send automated bounce-back replies sent to messages received in-hours and out-of-hours to help manage expectations and signpost accordingly for emergency advice.


Locala’s ChatHealth messaging service for Children’s Diabetes has proven to be well-utilised and much appreciated by patients and their families. It has enabled them to directly contact the Children’s Diabetes Nurses in a convenient way, as and when needed, for a quicker response rather than taking the longer route of the Single Point of Contact telephone line. It has allowed the Children’s Diabetes nurses to receive and respond to messages no matter where they are working in a safe and managed way.

The Children’s Diabetes messaging service has proven to be very popular, with more than 1,500 messaging conversations between the Children’s Diabetes nurses and the families on their caseload since it was set up. As shown by the statistics below, the service is consistently busy:

  • An average of 66 messaging conversations a month
  • Busiest time for contact is Monday and Tuesday at 9am.
  • Reasons for contact is for issues with diabetes technology, insulin adjustment and sick days, as well as appointment information.

Staff, patients and their families say that ChatHealth has helped to enhance the service offered by Locala’s Children’s Diabetes Team to support children and young people with diabetes. One parent gave positive feedback, saying: “Yes, it has helped. If for any reason I am worried about anything I can text one of the nurses for advice.”
Kate explains how it has benefited their Children’s Diabetes service:

“It is an excellent service. Patients and parents and carers like that they can text us whenever. No member of staff ever needs to worry about missing a message and the bounce-back reply ensures that our emergency advice line number is given in case more urgent care is needed.”



Local Snapchat campaign successfully reaching young people in Kent

School Nurses in Kent have been promoting their ChatHealth messaging service on Snapchat to reach young people across Kent.


The success of ChatHealth’s national campaign on Snapchat inspired the Kent School Health team to start their own local campaign on Snapchat. This enabled the team to determine their own objectives in promoting their local service, create their own ad content, define budgets and set the ad location and audience to specifically reach young people in Kent.

9 out of 10 young people are on Snapchat*, using it to connect with friends and family and share their experiences. By creating awareness of the Kent School Health service on Snapchat, young people can understand what the service is and how they can get confidential help and advice from NHS nurses via their ChatHealth messaging service.


The Kent School Health team spoke to young people to gain feedback about the video content used in the national campaign for ChatHealth. Young people said they liked the informal nature of the video, that the nurses came across as friendly, approachable and from diverse backgrounds and they understood it was an NHS service. However, young people said they did not like the names ‘School Nurse’ or ‘Public Health School Nurse Team’.

Considering the feedback from young people, the team created two short videos for their ad creative, featuring local ChatHealth nurses talking to camera about the types of health issues they can help young people with. With a budget of £10 a day, the audience for the Snapchat ads was set up to reach 15–19-year-olds in the Kent area as this is the group that the team are trying to improve access to. The videos are used as creative on the social media ads as well as on other forums such as on websites and in schools.

A nurse with curly hair wearing an NHS lanyard A nurse with an NHS lanyard Graphic showing the word For young people aged 11 to 19, Monday to Friday. Save our number in your phone in case you need to chat. Text 07520 618850. It is confidential, private and here for you.

In video 1 (45 second length) ChatHealth nurses are speaking to camera to introduce themselves and how young people can ask questions about their body, feelings, sexual health and relationships to get advice.

A screenshot of a phone showing an example ChatHealth conversation A nurse with an NHS lanyard Graphic showing the word For young people aged 11 to 19, Monday to Friday. Save our number in your phone in case you need to chat. Text 07520 618850. It is confidential, private and here for you.

In video 2 (50 seconds length) there is an example of a ChatHealth conversation explaining how it works.

The key message on both videos is ‘text us for help’ via the ChatHealth messaging service. When swiping up, the user is taken to their messaging app, which is pre-populated with Kent’s ChatHealth number, allowing them to send a message to contact a local school nurse.


An immediate impact was made by Kent’s local Snapchat campaign, with 2,574 swipe-ups for video 1 and 2,604 swipe-ups for video 2 in the first 2 months.**  Another key indicator of success was the huge increase in the number of ChatHealth messaging conversations taking place between young people and health professionals for the Kent School Health service. Before the campaign, there was 7 conversations in December 2022 and 9 conversations in January 2023. When the campaign started on 17th February 2023, this resulted in 26 conversations in February 2023 and an even greater uplift in March 2023 with 70 conversations. Since then, the Kent School Health team have continued running the Snapchat ads and are still seeing strong results.

Between February 2023 and July 2023, the campaign achieved**:

  • 3.4 million impressions
  • 21,329 swipe ups
  • 0.61% swipe rate
  • £1,501 spent

The campaign has delivered a consistently high uptake of ChatHealth with an average of 87 conversations taking place a month, which is an huge increase of 1211%.***

Risk management learnings

An increase in ChatHealth conversations has inevitably led to more high-risk cases being identified, including young people experiencing suicidal thoughts, self-harming, severe anxiety and safeguarding cases. The Kent School Health team have taken steps to manage high risk cases, such as logging on the risk register, joint partnership working with local counselling services, tracking time spent on ChatHealth to establish a case to increase staff user licences and sharing ‘good news’ stories with stakeholders.


In creating their own video content for the ad creative, the Kent School Health team listened to the feedback of young people, ensuring that the ChatHealth adverts attract their attention when using Snapchat. The successful performance of the campaign has been measured by a high number of people who saw the ad and clicked on it (swipe-ups). This has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of ChatHealth conversations opened and the service has maintained this high uptake whilst the campaign continues to run. Not only has the campaign exceeded the expectations of the Kent School Health team, but they are also effectively meeting their objective of reaching and supporting more young people across Kent. Due to the increase of high-risk cases, the Kent School Health team have taken steps to safely handle and escalate cases appropriately.

* Snapchat website

** Data from Snap Ads Manager as of 17/02/2023 to 31/07/2023

*** Data from ChatHealth reports as of 01/11/2022 to 31/07/2023


If you have any questions about running a similar campaign to this in your area, please contact us.




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