Cambridge University Hospitals Trust replatform to Wagtail CMS

Following in the footsteps of NHS.UK, Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (CUH) have chosen to refresh and replatform their hospital website with Torchbox and Wagtail CMS.

CUH’s old Drupal website had become cluttered over time, making it hard for patients to find what they need and failing to provide the Trust with the flexibility to manage their site. This was brought rapidly to the foreground when in March the hospital underwent huge operational change due to Covid, with a need to rapidly and regularly communicate to those needing to use the Trust’s services.

Putting patients first

It was clear from discovery that the website first and foremost needed to serve their diverse patient population; giving patients, carers and visitors the information they seeked to reassure they’re in safe hands, reduce avoidable angst associated with a hospital visit or stay, and as it transpired, most importantly to provide parking information!

Torchbox established a set of success metrics for improving patient satisfaction and reducing unnecessary use of hospital services for enquiries such as finding contact details and wayfinding. They also needed to realise the Trust’s objectives of furthering the hospital’s standing as a world-leader in collaboration, innovation and cutting-edge care without detracting from the patient focus.

Having established and tested a new IA, Torchbox used the NHS pattern library as a starting point for the new look and feel – which brings with it UX and accessibility best practices – then introduced elements of spark to their key landing pages, to give the Trust their own identity.

Time is of the essence

Torchbox built the Trust’s site in just over 7 weeks, alongside which the Trust’s communications team had the herculean task of developing the new content, from scratch, including the many hundreds of Services and Departments! To support this effort, Torchbox bulk loaded the content for CUH’s Services and released functional areas that needed the most content development to their production environment early, so they could be populating the content while Torchbox completed the build.

“Working with Torchbox has been an education. Fast paced and enthusiastic throughout. The ability to work together and overcome the challenges presented by a worldwide pandemic have made this journey far from straightforward but all the more rewarding.” Michael Frost, Digital Editor, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Why Wagtail?

Wagtail is no stranger to NHS sites, it’s used for, which has been getting over 70 million views a month during Covid-19, the NHS Digital Service Manual (similar to the GDS Design Manual), and the new NHS X website, and is widely used at NHS Improvement and a number of other trusts.

For Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, it has enabled faster creation and maintenance of content across departments, while providing key parts of the Trust, such as The Rosie Hospital and Cancer Services, with distinct branding and content components.

“We are delighted with our new website. It provides us with a distinct look and feel that stays true to our identity, yet manages to capture the fundamentals set out in the tried and tested NHS pattern library. Giving us a unique yet familiar website.”


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