Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) needed media affairs support ahead of a report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) into care failings by its predecessor: North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.
The report focused on serious failings in the treatment of two vulnerable young men who died shortly after being admitted to NEP’s care and, as these incidents had been the subject of previous investigations and a high-profile campaign by families, the PHSO’s findings were expected to generate significant national and regional media coverage.
EPUT asked us to provide media support following a recommendation from NHS England at a time when the trust’s communications team had limited capacity.
With only 24 hours to prepare, we supported EPUT’s response by:
- Joining a meeting of EPUT senior leads to discuss the report’s background, timeline and likely recommendations along with the expected media interest
- Linking in with EPUT’s communications lead to offer advice on media handling
- Supporting the development of a comms plan and reactive lines
- Acting as the main point of contact for media enquiries
- Responding to and logging media enquiries and interview requests
- Monitoring resulting media coverage and providing regular updates to EPUT
Over the course of two days, our media team successfully managed and responded to 20+ media requests and helped facilitate two TV interviews. This enabled EPUT to fully address the issues raised in the PHSO report – and subsequent comments from relatives – and resulted in consistently balanced coverage across national and local media outlets.
The trust was delighted with the outcome and thanked our media team for its support, noting that “coverage went really well” from its perspective.