The Western Health Public Affairs team is the first point of contact for all media enquiries and requests relating to all Western Health sites and services. You can contact the team via our switchboard on (03) 8345 6666.
Care provision, and the privacy and safety of our patients, their families and staff are our main priority.
When providing information about a patient to the media we are governed by the Health Services Act 1988 at all times. This legislation limits the amount of patient information we may release without written consent from a patient or, when appropriate, their next of kin.
Without expressed and informed consent, we are unable to provide information about a patient’s injuries, clinical care or prognosis.
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). We will only approach patients for interviews once they are ‘stable’.
Serious but stable – the patient is still likely to be in the intensive care unit or acute ward. Their vital signs are stable and within normal limits.
Critical but stable – the patient has vital signs that are within normal limits. The patient is stable but may be unconscious. Their condition is life threatening.
Critical – the patient has an injury or illness that is life threatening. The patient is unstable. The patient may be unconscious.
Under no circumstances will we:
Confirm a patient death
Provide identifying details such as name or age of a patient
Confirm specific injuries or illnesses of a patient.
Enquiries about patient deaths will be referred to Victoria Police Media on (03) 9247 5205.
To provide you with the correct condition of a patient, we require the appropriate details and information to ensure we are referring to the correct person. 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 to our Public Affairs team when making an enquiry includes:
Nature of injuries
Location of accident or incident if relevant (suburb, street or freeway name)
Time incident happened, or time brought to hospital
Condition the patient was brought to us in (stable, serious, critical)
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.
Interview requests to individuals on Western Health property for media purposes must be managed through Western Health's Public Affairs team.
Any request for access to persons on Western Health property for media purposes, such as requesting comment from family or friends of a patient, must be submitted to Public Affairs. We will not commonly approach a patient’s relatives or friends for media participation on the day of their admission. Family and friends of patients need to feel safe and secure when in our care.
News or media representatives are not permitted to enter our hospitals or other sites to find and approach family or friends of patients without prior approval from Public Affairs.
Once approval has been gained the visit will be overseen by a Public Affairs representative.
For more information on patient or family interview requests, contact Public Affairs via Western Health Switchboard on (03) 8345 6666. For non-urgent enquiries, send your email to [email protected]
Western Health operates a range of mental health services in Melbourne’s west. Requests for patient condition reports are unlikely to be granted given the strict privacy requirements of the Health Records Act 2001 and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Media enquiries relating to the operations of our services can be submitted via email [email protected] if non-urgent, or via Western Health Switchboard on (03) 8345 6666.
If you wish to film at a Western Health site, please contact our Public Affairs team on [email protected]. Requests will be considered and fulfilled where possible. Film crews shooting at our hospitals and other sites and services must be respectful of the privacy of patients and their carers at all times, and take care not to obstruct staff from doing their jobs. If required, Public Affairs will cancel a shoot if there is operational or clinical reason to do so.
Non-urgent filming requests, or requests other than those relating to news or current affairs, should be submitted in writing to [email protected]
For more information, contact Western Health Public Affairs on (03) 8345 6666.
If you wish to do a live cross outside any of our sites, please consider notifying Western Health’s Public Affairs team prior to the live cross to ensure that security is aware and the cross proceeds smoothly. Please be mindful that our site entrances are frequently used by patients and families, so please be respectful of patient privacy.
Any further questions relating to media can be emailed to [email protected] noting that we do not respond to emails outside business hours or answered by our media advisor on-call service via Western Health Switchboard (03) 8345 6666.