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PR outfit trumpets NHS deaths 'crisis management'

Killer bacteria outbreak? We can control the media!

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Here's a top tip for NHS hospitals which find themselves in the awkward position of having a load of dead patients lying about as a result of Clostridium difficile infection: call Freshwater PR who can prevent the resulting press kicking proving fatal to your good name.

As proof, try Freshwater's self-congratulatory trumpet regarding the case of Stoke Mandeville Hospital:

Crisis management

A new virulent form of Clostridium difficile infection was responsible for the deaths of 12 patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The outbreak attracted widespread media interest and prompted Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to call for an external inquiry by the Healthcare Commission.

The communication challenge

Freshwater Healthcare (formerly CLEAR) was asked by Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust to help it prepare for the publication of the Healthcare Commission’s highly critical report. The challenge was clear - manage and control the local and national media on the day of publication.

The Freshwater Healthcare solution

Freshwater developed and implemented a water-tight crisis management strategy that focused on highlighting the hospital’s vastly improved infection control measures and significant reductions in infection rates. It ensured that the hospital was fully prepared for the anticipated surge of media and government attention by: establishing the facts – both at the time of the outbreak and at the present date, developing clear, consistent key messages and producing a range of media materials, ensuring board members were fully briefed and media training trust spokepeople. It also organised a press conference and provided 24-hour support throughout the entire period.

Freshwater concludes:

Freshwater Healthcare was able to restrict negative publicity to a 24-hour news cycle. This was despite the fact that the Healthcare Commission inquiry found that 334 patients had acquired CDI while in hospital and that 33 had died from the infection.

Well done, really. ®

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