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GUIDE FOR MEDIA

On weekdays, you can reach Northland DHB’s media and communications team at the Whangarei Hospital campus on (09) 430 4100 extn 60519 or extn 60518.  All weekday requests for patient conditions, staff and patient interviews, photographs or filming must be made through the communications team.

For emergency enquiries after hours and at weekends, please call  the Whangarei Hospital campus on (09) 430 4100 and ask to be put through to the hospital duty manager.  All weekend requests for patient conditions, staff and patient interviews, photographs or filming must be made through the hospital duty manager.

Under no circumstances may interviews, filming or photography be carried out on all Northland DHB hospital sites and DHB facilities without permission from the communications unit team (on weekdays) or the hospital duty manager (after hours and at weekends). If you carry out filming or photography without permission, our hospital security teams will ask you to leave the site immediately.

Contacting the communications team 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.

Our role:
  • 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 and gender but will not confirm other details unless we have consent from the patient or their parent or guardian.
Condition updates description:
  • Stable: condition unchanged
  • Comfortable: 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 team. 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 Northland DHB hospitals

The media and communications team must approve access by the media to any of our hospitals for professional duties.  Please let us know your needs in advance. If your plan includes photography of a patient, family or a staff member at one of our hospitals, we can obtain photo consent on your behalf in advance. This will avoid delays. In group situations, a member of the communications team 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 communications team 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.
     
  • The communications team will 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.