Guide for the media
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On weekdays, you can reach Waikato District Health Board’s media and communications unit and one of our communications consultants at the Waiora Waikato campus on (07) 839 8899 ext 98780.
For emergency enquiries after hours and at weekends, please call (07) 839 8899 and ask to be put through to the on-duty communications consultant. All requests for patient conditions, staff and patient interviews, photographs or filming must be made through the media and communications unit.
Under no circumstances may interviews, filming or photography be carried out on the hospital sites without permission from the media and communications unit. If you carry out filming or photography without permission, our hospital security teams will ask you to leave the site immediately.
Communications consultants can save you time and trouble trying to track down medical staff and researchers who specialise in the subject you are covering. Often we can put you in contact with a busy practitioner who may not otherwise understand the demands of your deadlines.
We have an in-house visual communications unit and can provide you with images of our hospitals, staff and board members suitable for publication. Many can be found in our photo library or you can phone (07) 839 8899 ext 98780. Sometimes patients consent to our medical photographers taking photos for use by the media.
Our communications consultants are experienced in dealing with the media. Should your enquiry be urgent and you have had no reply within your deadline time, please contact our Communications Director, Mary Anne Gill, (07) 834 3684, or txt 021 705 213 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. She is able to access your messages promptly.
Our communications consultants have specific roles which may assist you.
- We do not release any personal information regarding a patient without consent of the adult patient or, where the patient is a child, the consent of the parent or guardian.
- We do release condition updates along with age bands, gender and city/town of residence but will not confirm other details unless we have consent from the patient or their parent or guardian.
- Stable: condition unchanged
- Serious, but stable: vital signs stable, within normal limits, patient conscious and comfortable, indicators favourable
- Serious: vital signs stable and within normal limits, patient conscious but may be uncomfortable, indicators questionable
- Critical: Vital signs unstable, not within normal limits, patient may not be conscious, indicators unfavourable.
While we respect that some families may want to share information with the media, we respect and support other families' right to decide whether or not to engage with the media.
Often patients/parents will agree to pass on additional details to our communications consultants. We will obtain consent for this release of information as quickly as possible and report these additional facts.
When patients or their family members decline consent for release of information and request that all information about them or their child remains confidential, we are unable to comment on such patients.
Confirmation of a patient's death occurs only with family consent and after notifying next of kin. Sometimes we will refer you to the police media liaison officer rather than comment ourselves.
Visiting Waikato DHB hospitals
- The media and communications unit must approve access by the media to any of our hospitals for professional duties.
- At Waikato Hospital, you must sign in at Enquiries on Level 1 in the Menzies Building.
- At the other hospitals, you must sign in at reception.
- Please let us know your needs in advance. If your plan includes photography of a patient, family or a staff member at our Waikato DHB hospitals, we can obtain photo consent on your behalf in advance. This will avoid delays. In group situations, a media and communications consultant will be on hand to let you know which patients you can photograph.
- In consideration of the rights to confidentiality of our patients, their families and our staff, the media and communications unit will confirm all recording and interviews on hospital property.
- Patient or parental permission alone is insufficient consent. Clinicians have the right to over ride that consent taking into consideration patient safety, privacy for other patients and other factors such as infection control risks and staff concerns.
- Communications consultants can advise on staff commitments, treatment schedules and requirements for infection control and arrange a mutually convenient time and location for your interview.
In the event of a trauma or an internal emergency, the media plays a vital role by providing the community with the latest news and public service announcements. Our disaster response plan includes operation of an on-site media centre to make sure your needs are met.
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