That hail of acronyms is my way of announcing that the new site for the Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust that I’ve been consulting on is now live to the public. It’s based on a WordPress MU (multi-user) installation, which will allow the team to very quickly set a new site live for special events and allow individual services or centres to have their own sites, easily administered by them but controlled from one central area.

NHS Birmingham East and North

The design work is by the team at Substrakt, who also developed a plugin to deal with the wide variety of data that can be pulled from the NHS Choices API. (The plugin would be very useful for local blogs as it would automatically allow search and display of local health services — hopefully it can be released publicly). They’ve done a great job of producing an accessible, clear site with in the NHS brand guidelines.

The site is to be run by the team at the PCT, so a lot of the consultancy process has been about making sure they understand as much as possible about the possibilities and the (simple) procedures needed to administer the site — confidence to experiment has been vauable. We decided on WP MU as there are plans for may sites and sub-sites — a MU install can have a site up and running in a matter of minutes, and with a set of themes designed they can all fit the brand straight away. We’ve also set up a system allowing each site to have a completely separate domain name if required — so no-one need know that they’re related to the main PCT site.

The flexibility of WordPress allowed the team to build a mock-up site very quickly, with a very basic theme, and work on the content internally collaboratively — which was then skinned with the completed theme. For the user, the site offers RSS feeds of any of the categories, and many pages will have commenting on — both standard features.

The first of the sub-sites is under development, as well as experiments with the commentariat theme which is a theme built to make consultation on documents easy. I look forward to seeing the developments.

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