This press policy outlines our company values, the nature of our working relationship with the press and how we aim to use media coverage to achieve our goals for patients and the NHS.We work with lots of NHS stakeholders, from staff and management to patients and policymakers, but we want to ensure that every voice is heard. This means one of the most important groups we work with is the media.Our coverage serves two purposes. Firstly we share what we have learned about the quality of healthcare and what patients think of it. We work with the media in a number of ways to do this: by releasing comments to the press that respond to the news agenda; distributing research and statistics about the quality of patient experience; or raising revealing issues through individual patients’ stories.We also rely on media coverage to promote Care Opinion to a wider audience, both in and out of the NHS, to increase the number of people using the website and drive patient-led service improvement. We work with a wide range of media outlets that include national and regional newspapers, television and radio broadcasting, health industry press, and websites or blogs from all sides of the political spectrum. We oppose any working relationship that compromises our core values of independence, transparency and openness. This means that whilst we do occasionally provide exclusive content for a media outlet, we do not enter in any long term exclusive deals that would prevent us from sharing our message with as wide a variety of media outlets as possible. Like the media, we always take our obligations to the public seriously. We always get permission from patients before giving their details to journalists and we take care to avoid pressurising patients to take part. We also try to make them aware of what being a case study for the media may involve.We always try to be fair to NHS staff who we know often work under considerable pressure. In addition to previewing all stories against our moderation policy prior to publication, we also do our utmost to ensure that any negative coverage is mitigated by a right of reply. Finally, wherever possible we post how we have contributed to a story that has been sourced via Care Opinion and the part we have played in any media event. Our constant goal is to strike the right balance between increasing the reach of our message and maintaining our core values. The best kind of health reporting is balanced, fair handed and helpful to the NHS. We hope that by amplifying the voices of patients and their carers, providing constructive insight in their opinions and enabling trusts to respond to any criticisms, we can help achieve a better health service for everyone.
12th April 2011