The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has responded to reports that communications professionals encouraged NHS trusts to describe newly built units and major refurbishments of existing NHS buildings as ‘new hospitals’.
Responding to reports, PRCA Director General Francis Ingham said:
“It is important that public communications are factual and neither misleading nor exaggerated. To any normal person, a new wing does not equate to a new hospital. In the interests of public confidence in such announcements, we would urge honest, straight-forward accuracy.”
The CIPR have also commented and President Mandy Pearse has issued a statement following details of the Department of Health and Social Care’s ‘New Hospital Programme Communications Playbook’ issued to NHS Trusts. The Playbook advises Trusts that refurbishments including new wings of existing hospitals “must always be referred to as new hospitals”.
“Accuracy and honesty in public sector communications are important in maintaining public trust. This comment within the Playbook is ill-judged. I have every confidence that health PR professionals will act ethically and with integrity and describe capital spending in a way that is accurate for their local situation. We remind members that the CIPR code of conduct requires them to maintain the highest standards of integrity whilst dealing honestly and fairly with the public.”