The brief

Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) was dealing with a difficult and complex issue that required sensitive and careful handling. It had done everything possible to address the circumstances in a professional, compassionate and appropriate way, but despite its actions the issue was likely to attract significant interest at local and national levels.

The Trust wanted help to ensure that, in the event of media interest, its response would minimise any impact on those affected and ensure the safeguarding of the organisation’s reputation. Most importantly, it wanted to demonstrate it had approached the issue with compassion, candour and integrity throughout, putting patients at the heart of its considerations.

PAHT also needed help in identifying the most appropriate person to speak publicly about the issue, and to provide them with the skills and confidence required to respond effectively within the media and other forums.

What we did

MIH Solutions reviewed relevant aspects of the case and advised the Trust on media handling as well as other stakeholder considerations, ensuring an entirely comprehensive approach.

We worked hand in hand with the communications team, HR and key leads to ensure consistency of approach with all angles considered, and to avoid possible duplication of effort or missed opportunities. This also meant that those involved in handling the issue going forward were united in how to respond to future queries.

MIH Solutions considered possible avenues of enquiry and led the development of a handling plan to include key messages and lines to take. This was put to the test during our bespoke media training masterclass session with Dr Andy Morris, the Trust’s Chief Medical Officer. We invited members of the communications and HR teams to attend the session to enable wider discussion and support, and to ensure consensus on messaging and approach. Working with Dr Morris, we practised and rehearsed possible approaches, ensuring that he felt fully equipped to handle difficult media interviews and other queries should they occur.

The result

MIH Solutions remains in touch with the Trust and is on hand to offer advice, guidance and support. In the event of urgent media enquiries, we are prepared and ready to conduct interview rehearsals with little notice.