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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

Home > Media > Media policy

Media policy

The Trust is in regular contact with the media through its established Communications Office. The Communications Office has a good working relationship with the local media providing regular press releases and news of our services along with giving timely responses to media enquiries received. It is important that up-to-date information is provided to the media so that patients and the public are kept informed about hospital matters and Trust business.

Media policy

The Trust's Media Policy acknowledges the role of the media to broadcast news about the Trust and as a channel of information to members of the public in providing a tool for reassurance and appeal in helping patients make a choice over their hospital care.

The policy addresses two areas of media relations:

  • Routine media enquiries
  • Crisis/emergency planning media relations

Principles

  • The Trust will always be transparent, open and honest in any dealings with the media
  • Liaison with representatives of the media is handled by those with appropriate knowledge and expertise
  • The Trust will co-operate, as far as possible, with the media, recognising legitmate public interest in the NHS
  • The confidentiality of individuals - patients and staff - should be respected at all times. Patient confidentiality must never be breached
  • All media enquiries are dealt with in a timely manner playing due regard to deadlines. 

Routine media relations

News releases are issued by the Trust to proactively inform the media about positive stories about the Trust’s hospitals, staff and services, to provide important factual information or events or to correct information presented in the media i.e. rebuttals or “setting the record” straight.

Responding to a media enquiry

All verbal and written responses to media enquiries will be made by the Communications Department once an appropriate and accurate response has been agreed with the relevant Director and approved by the Chief Executive.

The Communications Office will identify a spokesperson for the Trust on a case-by-case basis. 

Condition checks

The Communications Office has a system in place for dealing with these requests. This is to ensure that patient confidentiality is protected at all times. Condition checks will not be processed unless the name and date of birth of the patient is given. 

Members of the media (including photographers) and film crews on Trust premises

Members of the media and film crews are not authorised to interview or film on Trust premises, including all grounds without prior approval of the Trust through the Head of Communications. Film crews and photographers will always be escorted by a member of the Communications Team unless specific arrangements have been made with a senior member of staff from the area they are visiting.

In the event of a major emergency

There are two situations which may result in a large number of media enquiries. The first is in the event of a major incident, for example, involving multiple casualties, large scale evacuation or large outbreak of a disease. In these instances, the Trust will play a supporting role with partners in responding to the media. This type of eventuality is covered by the Trust’s Major Accident Plan.

The second is when a Trust specific issue receives intense media interest, for example, a controversial consultation, critical report or a clinical issue. The level of media attention in this instance could approach that experienced during a major incident. In some circumstances, it may be necessary for the Communications Team to organise a press conference due to high level press interest.