Working with Oxford’s NHS Foundation Trusts media teams

There is a difference in culture between the University and Oxford’s two NHS Foundation Trusts - Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, headquartered at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and Oxford Health (OHFT) NHS Foundation Trust, headquartered at the Warneford Hospital - when it comes to individuals responding to media enquiries, speaking to journalists or organising filming.

General information
  • Generally the University is happy for researchers to talk to the media in areas of their expertise in most circumstances. Advice on when to get in touch with the University’s Public Affairs Directorate (PAD), and where it can make a real difference, is given below. Otherwise, PAD doesn’t need to know about every single interaction with the media – although it appreciates being aware of what is planned and can offer advice or assistance for significant or sensitive stories that could see a fair amount of coverage.
  • Both NHS trusts’ media teams need to be made aware of filming, photography or any media activity on any of their hospital sites, and actively have to give permission for this to take place for reasons of patient confidentiality. Also their senior management teams would expect to be informed of any media activity which may impact on the reputation of the organisations.
  • Please try to give the NHS trusts’ media teams as much notice as possible of any media activity, so that necessary security and consent arrangements can be made.  Greater notice is required if the filming is to be extensive and the crew are to be on site longer than a couple of hours.
  • All filming on Trust sites should be supervised (ideally by a member of the OUH comms team, or by your departmental communications officer or another member of University staff). Please ensure that the supervisor has read these instructions and understand the Trusts’ rules around filming before the filming takes place.
  • If media activity involves a University employee on University property within the hospital, then please alert the relevant hospital media team so they can inform security. See below for details of other circumstances where you need to involve this team.
  • It is generally a good idea to make sure building management/administrators/head of department/receptionist/staff in area know when filming/photography/media activity is taking place anywhere in the University so that no one is surprised. Particular buildings or departments may have their own guidelines, but the University Public Affairs Directorate would seek to encourage most media engagement as being a positive opportunity for explaining our research and teaching activities. Again, it can offer advice as necessary.
  • Departmental Communication Officers (or staff with communications in their remit) should emphasise the benefits to their researchers of informing them of media activity (e.g. further promotion of their research through various departmental/divisional/university/external channels, which could in turn benefit their research).
  • The NHS trusts’ media teams are also willing to post news, articles, promote relevant events, activities, blogs, retweet tweets if appropriate and share in online and printed newsletters, information which is of interest and relevance to their staff.  Co-operation with these teams can potentially lead to even greater exposure for the activity you are trying to publicise.
  • Be careful if approached by charities wanting to involve patients. Patients, even if their treatment was funded by a charity, do not ‘belong’ to the charity. The normal consent procedure still needs to take place.  If the patient is still receiving treatment from OUH or OHFT, then hospital consent forms needs to be signed.  If the patient is no longer being treated by OUH/OHFT, it is still worth checking that the charity has obtained signed consent from the person(s) – and they provide you with a copy, before agreeing to take it further.  As a courtesy the NHS trusts’ media teams would also like to know about former patients, so that they can let the consultant who treated them know about the media activity.
  • If the research involves collaboration, you may need to involve other communications colleagues at an early stage. If you aren’t sure who the contact is, please contact Alison Brindle for advice.
When to get in touch

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  • Research findings or a major new development stands a significant chance of mainstream media attention nationally and internationally.
  • There is a sensitive issue that is likely to see media interest and/or criticism.
  • You are uncertain about an approach from a journalist and want advice.
  • The research involves animals. The University is keen to talk about research stories and findings, including where the study has involved animals. It actively wants to hear about examples of research progress that have included research in animals, and also examples of the successful use of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction and refinement). When it comes to media work on why animal research is necessary, do contact PAD first. They can offer advice and guidance.

01865 280528

  • If you are arranging a photo-call or filming anywhere on any of the four OUH hospital sites, please send an email in advance to
  • If your filming/photography involves patients, please call the media office on 01865 231471, and they will advise on necessary consent and other permissions.
  • Speak to the OUH media team if your potential photo-call or news release/web article involves hospital clinicians or staff in a joint research project or who has a joint appointment, and they will be required to comment or feature strongly in the news story.
  • If you need stock images of the hospital or clinical areas for publications/leaflets etc. email
  • When in doubt, email/call them.


01865 231471

  • Email, or call 01865 902068 if you are planning any filming or photography at any Oxford Health sites, or if you filming/photographing/interviewing patients. The communications team will need a signed consent form (scanned email copies are fine) before they can authorize any patient involvement, and they can also give you template consent forms. In some cases, a clinician currently treating the patient may also need to countersign the form.
  • Please also email/call the team if you are filming/taking photos at a University site within its hospital grounds (e.g., the Department of Psychiatry).
  • Speak to the Oxford Health media team if your potential photo-call or news release/ web article involves hospital clinicians or staff in a joint research project or who has a joint appointment, and they will be required to comment or feature strongly in the news story.
  • When in doubt, email/call them


01865 902068

And remember, please contact the media teams if:

  • There are policy and/or reputation implications for either the University or NHS Trusts, the wider NHS or higher education sector generally (including issues involving government funding of healthcare/research)
  • The research involves a clinical trial
  • The research is early stage and could potentially be commercialised (don’t publish before the patent). You may also wish to contact Oxford University Innovation at this stage


Please remember, these teams are very busy, so when you contact them don’t just forward on an email trail, instead include a brief summary of important information, any pertinent dates, and an outline your request.

Contact us

News Office
+44 (0)1865 280528


Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Media Team
+44 (0)1865 231471


Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Media team
+44 (0)1865 902068