Better relations needed between QEH and media
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is seeking to strengthen its working relationship with the media to support better news coverage of emergency situations.
Briefing reporters yesterday morning, Chief Executive Officer Dr Dexter James said the hospital was willing to work with the media in such circumstances once it was under “controlled and cooperative circumstances”.
The hospital CEO was explaining media protocols which would apply to the release of information on emergencies at the island’s main health care facility.
Under these protocols, if a hazard occurs at the hospital, a command centre will be established with Dr James in charge. Information to the media will be passed on through the QEH’s communication specialist Julie Carrington.
Dr James noted that in past mass casualties, the media sometimes got the facts right but there were cases where they got it wrong.
“. . . If the media, through the Incident Command Centre, could communicate with the hospital, we will be able to provide you with credible information to present to the public,” he explained.
Director of Engineering Services Paula Agbowu, who is responsible for the disaster programme, asked that media officials identify themselves to security guards and police before entering the premises of the QEH.
“The media obviously is free to speak to any family members once given that permission, but once [family members] are here . . . undergoing . . . counseling services, we would want to have them in a separate location and away from any media,” she said.
Agbowu said in an effort to test the hospital’s response to disasters, the facility would engage in simulation exercises which the media or staff would not be informed about.
“When the exercise is in motion, we will inform the media that it is an exercise we are conducting,” the engineering services director said.