The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is committed to protecting patients’ confidentiality. Legally, we are required to ask for permission from patients or their next of kin in order to give information to the media. Requests for interviewing/photographing patients must always be made through the Communications team.
We are able to give a basic condition check (stable, critical) to the media where a patient name and other identifying information has been provided, such as an address or date of birth. We treat over 800,000 patients each year and this information is needed to ensure we identify the correct patient. Otherwise we will not be able to provide a condition check.
Requests for condition checks should be made to the Communications office on 01603 289944/ 289821 during normal office hours (08:30 to 17:30 Monday to Friday) or made to the on-call Communications team member (via switchboard on 01603 286286) out of normal office hours.
Out of hours media contact
The Communications office is the first port of call for journalists on 01603 289944/289821 but we recognise there will be occasions when calls need responding to out of hours.
Out of hours, a member of the Communications team can be reached in an emergency via the switchboard on 01603 286286.
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 inquiry 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. This is not because we are trying to be obstructive. This is because, legally, we have to confirm the patient is willing to have information about their care shared publicly.
Media contacting hospital staff
It is the Trust’s policy that if staff are contacted by a member of the media, staff should put the journalist in touch with the Communications team. In such circumstances, our staff are advised not to give comments to the press unless previously discussed and agreed with the Communications team.
The Communications team is based at the:
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Level 4 West
Tel: 01603 289944/289821 or email Communications@nnuh.nhs.uk
Media visits to our hospitals should be cleared in advance through the Communications office. Our hospitals do have areas open to public access but also have restricted areas where privacy is very important because of security and patient confidentiality.
We recognise there will be times when patients or relatives directly invite the media to our hospitals and it is the role of the Communications team to help make arrangements for these visits.
Unannounced visits can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and our role is to try and facilitate such visits when appropriate. This is consistent with article 8 of the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice regarding hospitals, the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, Section 6, regarding privacy and consent, and Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, Section 8, regarding privacy, in relation to hospitals.