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Media Relations Policy

Media Relations Policy

Musgrove Park Hospital's media relations policy

 

Patient confidentiality

As part of its duty of care, Musgrove Park Hospital is committed to protecting patients' confidentiality. Legally, we have to get permission from patients or their next of kin in order to give any information to the media. Requests for interviewing and or photographing patients must always be made through the communications team.

Condition checks

While the hospital is committed to being as open as possible to the general public and the media, all staff have a legal obligation to keep information about the care and treatment of individual patients confidential. 

Information, including 'condition checks', will not be given to journalists or the news media without first seeking the consent of the patient, or a relative. With regards to parental consent, it is required for patients under 16 years of age. When a condition check is given to the news media, it will comprise a simple confirmation of facts and possibly a general statement as to the patient's current condition, such as "stable", "comfortable", "critical" etc.

As a simple rule, condition checks will NOT be given out in the following circumstances:

  • When the journalist does not have the patient's name
  • When the patient is unable to communicate their wishes or if their relatives wish for no information to be given 
  • When the patient is undergoing an operation
  • When the journalist only has sketchy details of a patient and the circumstances mean that identities could be confused which could result in incorrect information being released. 

Dealing with patient complaints through the media

We are legally obliged to ask permission of patients to discuss their individual circumstances. In the event of a media enquiry regarding a patient complaint about their clinical treatment, or about other hospital services, we do have to check the individual or their next of kin is happy for us to talk to the media. 

Media contacting hospital staff

Staff are not authorised to represent Musgrove Park Hospital to the media.  If staff are contacted directly by the media it is our policy that they must refer the journalist to the communications team in the first instance. The Communications team will then try to facilitate an interview request if possible.

Visits to hospital sites

All media visits to our hospital must be agreed in advance through the communications office. Please contact Claire Green on 01823 344546 or Paul Hopkins on 01823 344436 if you are interested in coming on site.

Non-news, location or commercial filming

We encourage this where it is operationally possible.  However, we do make a charge to cover staff time, administration and disruption. Permission to film will not be granted until the communications team are satisfied that appropriate public liability insurance is in place and a filming agreement has been signed.

Freedom of Information enquiries

Further information here can be found on our FOI pages. If you have and FOI request please email: foi@tst.nhs.uk

Fundraising or charity requests

For Love Musgrove fundraising or charity enquiries, please contact call: 01823 344437 or email fundraising@tst.nhs.uk.