Statewide Equipment Program

You are here

Media, Events and Publications

Media relations at BHS

The Communications Team is responsible for managing all media relations and enquiries relating to BHS’, staff, patients and research activities. We are the first point of contact for any media enquiry or visit to any of our sites across Ballarat and the Western Region.

A Communications staff member will accompany media during your visit, including for interviews, filming and photography. This is primarily to ensure patients, families and visitors are not disturbed during their stay at BHS and that full written consent is received before permitting media to film, photograph or interview our patients. It is also to consult staff about media presence onsite and to ensure staff are not interrupted while performing their jobs. We will not commonly approach a patient’s relatives or friends for media participation on site.

BHS has experts on a broad range of health topics who may be available to assist you with your stories and story ideas. Please contact the Communications team if you wish to submit a request to speak with one of our experts. Please do not contact staff directly.

 

Business hours

Media are invited to contact the Communications team to discuss story ideas:

E media@bhs.org.au
T (03) 5320 6421
M 0466 149 289

 

After hours

After hours we run an 'on call' service for urgent media enquiries only. Please phone the switchboard who will forward your call to the Patient Flow Coordinator (03) 5320 4000. For all other enquiries, please contact the Communications Team during business hours.

 

Enquiring about the condition of a patient

At Ballarat Health Services, we pride ourselves on protecting the privacy of our patients, clients, residents and staff.

We adhere to the Health Services Act 1988 when releasing patient information to third parties. The legislation dictates what information we are able to release without the written permission of the patient or their next of kin.

Without expressed consent, we are unable to provide information about a patient’s injuries; illness or prognosis; about surgical intervention or procedures; or about where a patient is located in the hospital.

We will provide a condition report at the discretion of BHS staff. When providing a patient condition, we categorise the condition using the following descriptors:

  • Discharged – the patient has left our hospital. This could mean they have been sent home or transferred to another facility.
  • Stable – the patient is stable and vital signs are within normal limits. They are likely to be on a regular ward (not high dependency or intensive care). 
  • Serious – The patient may be unstable and their vital signs not within normal limits. The patient could be in the intensive care unit or acute ward. Their injury or illness may be life threatening.
  • Confirming patient deaths – we will confirm the death of a patient only after we have confirmed that the deceased’s family or next of kin is aware and have provided consent for this disclosure.

Media interviews can be arranged privately with patients once they have been discharged from Ballarat Health Services. Note that BHS is unable to provide patient contact details.

 

Information about a patient

When contacted about a patient, whose name you do not know, we are guided by the information you provide. The more information you can offer that will help us to identify the patient, the more likely we can assist you quickly.

Information commonly provided by reporters:

  • Accident location (if relevant)
  • Time of incident or reported arrival in hospital
  • Gender and approximate age

If we are able to identify the patient we will provide a generic condition for you. We are unable to confirm name, age or any other details about that person.

If a patient’s next-of-kin requests that we do not release a condition, we will not do so.

If a patient has been admitted to a ward or moved to another part of the hospital, it may not be possible to provide any further information.