1. Procedure Statement
It is the policy of The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) to
respond to appropriate and reasonable media questions/inquiries effectively,
accurately and on a timely basis to help promote public understanding of our
services, activities and issues. Responsibility for media engagement and
strategy rests with the Executive Director Communications and delegated to the Director
Communications and Engagement, part of the Corporate Communications team in the
Division of Communications. All media inquiries are managed and responded to
centrally via this process.
to assist media in their role, as well as support staff who may be contacted by
the media, Corporate Communications provides a 365 day on call roster,
available through directly contacting the 24/7 Corporate Communications
landline of 9345 4220.
The advisors in Corporate Communications are experienced in
managing and assessing the media opportunity, identifying the most relevant
spokesperson and ensuring that all necessary approvals and consent requirements
are considered in developing a response.
Corporate Communications manages both reactive and proactive
Staff are reminded that all terms of employment state that
failure to follow hospital policies and procedures may lead to disciplinary
2. Purpose of procedure
the privacy of RCH staff, patients and their families.
informed written consent from patients and their families before they are
exposed to media.
staff and families to be briefed and prepared before speaking to the
consistency of all messages.
- Protect and
enhance the reputation of the hospital.
the professional interaction and ongoing relationships between the
hospital and media.
- Preserve and
enhance the relationship between the hospital and the Good Friday Appeal
(GFA) media partners, Herald & Weekly Times Ltd and Channel 7, and,
where appropriate, provide strategic preferential access to hospital
stories to these networks for the designated period from the launch until
the conclusion of the appeal annually.
timely, accurate and appropriate responses to media inquiries.
members are not permitted to approach or speak to the media on behalf of
the RCH without the approval of the Executive Director Communications or Director
Communications and Engagement. This includes conversations described as
'off the record'.
media inquiries must be immediately directed to the Executive Director
Communications or Corporate Communications team (including the Director
Communications and Engagement). This includes
media inquiries or activities relating to the hospital, its services, its
research, its patients, its staff or fundraising activities as well as
inquiries involving an external group who wish to promote their
relationship with the RCH.
- The Director Communications and Engagement and Corporate
Communications team are the liaison
between the organisation and the media and are authorised to
act as a spokesperson on matters of fact
or clarification, or to provide patient condition reports.
Director Communications and Engagement will assess the
media inquiry and draft the most appropriate response or action and
identify the most appropriate spokesperson. Responses are to be approved
by the CEO or delegate (in most circumstances the Executive Director
Director Communications and Engagement will escalate the media response to
the Executive Director Communications, who may in some instances escalate
the matter to the CEO and/or Chair upon assessment of the inquiry.
- RCH on-campus
partners including Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The University
of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, the RCH Foundation and parent and
patient support groups wishing to invite media onto hospital managed areas
must first gain the consent of RCH Corporate Communications. Media will be
escorted by RCH Corporate Communications.
- Media must be
escorted in the hospital at all times by RCH Corporate Communications.
who wish to invite media into the hospital when their child is an
in-patient must gain the approval of Corporate Communications who will
gain approval of the medical or nursing staff caring for the
- RCH staff who act
as spokespersons or provide expert commentary in their role with external
organisations must advise Corporate Communications before undertaking any
Executive Director, Communications must approve all requests to hold a
and photography on hospital grounds by the media or
external organisations is not permitted without the prior permission
of Corporate Communications.
- Media are
permitted to film on the footpath outside of the hospital grounds. All
crew and equipment must remain outside of the hospital for the duration of
filming and not block the sidewalk. Exceptions to this are only allowed
with approval of the Executive Director Communications, and if approved,
with notification to RCH Security and the Hospital Manager (if outside
Communications may at its discretion, and with the endorsement of the
Executive Director Communications, levy a fee for the use of the RCH as a
venue or backdrop for filming or news gathering. This is called a location
fee, and is set at $2000 per access subject to the decision of the
Executive Director Communications. In addition to the location fee, an
hourly fee of $75 may be levied for an RCH Corporate Communications
Officer to accompany film crews on RCH premises. Any other costs incurred
as a result of the approved filming request will be borne by the applicant
and invoiced through RCH Finance.
4. Persons Affected
partners, including MCRI, University of Melbourne Department of
Paediatrics, RCH Foundation.
5. Definition of terms
Media: Includes all forms of media, print,
broadcast and online.
External groups: Includes all those outside the
hospital who offer or provide any form of support to the hospital, its
patients, its staff, its research or its fundraising activities.
External organisations: Includes
professional associations, peak bodies, disease specific or clinical support
On-campus partners: Includes those who are
located on-site at RCH and generate publicity independently.
who may be supervising volunteers, fundraisers and others who work on a
casual basis on RCH premises.
members and senior leadership team members to ensure their staff are aware
of this procedure.
Corporate Communications staff to educate and monitor compliance with
Executive to support and enforce the procedure.