Advice on creating a start up forum for NHS clinical teams

I’ve been working with the clinical bigwigs of immunotherapy for the last couple of years and encouraging them to do something different from traditional large scale training and symposia as methods of sharing and learning, and instead connect the oncology clinical community using private social media tech.

I can see how if they were joined up in something like a closed forum that this could have tremendous power to join up their knowledge, ideas and accelerate service change in this fast evolving medical technology.

They’re quite excited by the concept and what I need to do now is outline a plan for how they do this including resources they will need to get this off the ground and manage the initial administration etc.

I could do with a 30 minute chat with someone who knows the technical ins and outs so that I can bounce ideas off them in relation to the specifics within the NHS.

Note - I’m not getting paid to do this, I’ve offered all my time to them for free as I’m just keen to help them, its cancer care after all and many of us will be touched by this directly or indirectly.

Anyone help or point me towards someone who can - please let me know via PM. Cheers.


I believe a well informed (?) type might be heading to Wrexham later in January :thinking:

Are they currently using MS Teams across these areas? You could take a look at a bolt on app such as Lightening Tools Social Squared which adds forum/discussion board functionality. That also has the benefit of the clinicians being familiar with the tool and already logged in most days rather than ask them to join another great new new thing where uptake may not be as high.

Nuking forums from orbit a speciality.


Just don’t let them start a mince pie thread.


Does that work across multiple tenancies as I suspect that might be a challenge.

@crimsondonkey it might be worth reaching out to NHS Digital, can’t imagine your the first with this challenge.


I know a couple of the leads at NHSD. Ideally the solution would be compliant governance wise but not necessarily provided by them.

Strangely we haven’t found other precedents for this approach to community building within the NHS and I suspect it’s probably because they’ve tried to go the formal NHS route.

Hopefully your contacts at NHSD can assist, the compliance/governance side is always the blocker. Especially for cross organisation things.


I’ve only seen an MOU done once across multiple trusts and that was for NHSD (direct not digital) telephony and even then it was a colossal nightmare with the various personalities and politics of different trusts coming into play.

A usecase of one but I fucking hated trying to work with the NHS technical management teams.

Good luck :man_running: :man_running: :man_running: :man_running: :man_running: :man_running:

PS slack is a good collaboration platform.

Yep this is why we are trying to avoid any interaction with NHS organisations and was being sarcastic when I said ‘strange’ as I’m perfectly aware of the obstacles - I’ve advised many tech start ups who have whizz bang ideas for software, apps etc on their business planning and how to engage the market with 95% of examples being ‘don’t bother trying’.

We want this to be a community of oncologists who organise themselves through a charitable organisation (being set up) and have as few links with formal NHS tiers as possible. I’m trying to get them to turn their current 150 member Whattsapp group into a 3000-6000 voluntary forum based community.

As well as Slack you could also look at Discord. There’s a lot of blurring now between forum software like Discourse that we use here and chat-based systems like Slack and Discord. Just depends on the functionality, look and feel they are after.

Is Ban Hammer a requirement?

With thanks to @TMC for a very helpful and enlightening chat :+1:


Wayne: “Hi Jon”
Jon: “Don’t !”


Jesus, it was like a 45 min conversation Facebook:

Do you mean 5 minutes of actual content, then a load of adverts, followed by cat and dog memes?