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Guide for the media

Introducing This Page

In the event of a trauma or an emergency, the media plays a vital role by providing the community with the latest news and public service announcements. Our disaster response plan includes operation of an on-site media centre to make sure media needs are met.

Media advisor weekend on-call roster

Important! Please click here to read and explore our weekend on-call roster as well as the media guide info the West Coast DHB shares with the Canterbury DHB.

Canterbury DHB and West Coast DHB Media Team

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Karalyn van Deursen

Strategic Communications Manager

Please visit this page for details

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Lee Harris

Senior Communications Advisor

Please visit this page for details

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Amy Milne

Media Advisor

Please visit this page for details

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Mick O'Donnell

Senior Communications Advisor

Please visit this page for details


Our role with the media

All requests for patient conditions, staff and patient interviews, photographs or filming must be made through the Senior Communications Advisor or Strategic Communications Manager.
Under no circumstances may interviews, filming or photography be carried out on the hospital sites without permission from the Senior Communications Advisor or Strategic Communications Manager.
If you carry out filming or photography without permission, our hospital security teams will ask you to leave the site immediately. For more information see Guidelines for media visiting CDHB hospitals.
The Senior Communications Advisor or Strategic Communications Manager can save you time and trouble trying to track down medical staff and researchers who specialise in the subject you are covering. Often we can put you in contact with a busy practitioner who may not otherwise understand the demands of your deadlines.
We can provide you with images of our hospitals, staff and board members suitable for publication and are happy to take high resolution photographs on request.

Patient status updates

We do not release any personal information regarding a patient without consent of the adult patient or, where the patient is a child, the consent of the parent or guardian.

We do release condition updates along with age bands, gender and city/town of residence but will not confirm other details unless we have consent from the patient or their parent or guardian.

Patient status terminology and definitions

  • Comfortable: patient is recovering well

  • Stable: condition unchanged

  • Serious, but stable: vital signs stable and within normal limits, patient conscious but may be uncomfortable, indicators questionable.

  • Serious: vital signs stable and within normal limits, patient conscious but may be uncomfortable, indicators questionable.

  • Critical: : Vital signs unstable, not within normal limits, patient may not be conscious, indicators unfavourable.

While we respect that some families may want to share information with the media, we respect and support other families' right to decide whether or not to engage with the media.

Often patients/parents will agree to pass on additional details to the media advisor or nursing staff. We will obtain consent for this release of information as quickly as possible and report these additional facts.

When patients or their family members decline consent for release of information and request that all information about them or their child remains confidential, we are unable to comment on such patients.

Confirmation of a patient's death occurs only with family consent and after notifying next of kin. Sometimes we will refer you to the police media liaison officer rather than comment ourselves.

Guidelines for media visiting Canterbury and West Coast DHB hospitals

  • The media advisor or strategic communications manager must approve access by the media to any of our hospitals for professional duties.

  • In consideration of the rights to confidentiality of our patients, their families and our staff, the media advisor or strategic communications manager will confirm all recording and interviews on hospital property before they occur.

  • Patient or parental permission alone is insufficient consent as we need to consider patient safety, privacy for other patients and other factors such as infection control risks and staff concerns.

  • Please let us know your needs in advance. If your plan includes photography of a patient, family or a staff member at our Canterbury DHB hospitals, we can obtain photo consent on your behalf in advance. This will avoid delays.

  • The media advisor or strategic communications manager will liaise with our clinicians and the patient to arrange a mutually convenient time and location for your interview and will set up where to meet you.

  • The media advisor/a member of the communications team, or security will escort you to the patient or staff member you wish to interview.