At the MUHC, we recognize our responsibility to the news media to provide information of public interest. However, we must balance the media’s interest with our responsibility to protect our patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality, including the right not to be interviewed or photographed without their written consent.
The MUHC welcomes requests from news media and strives to answer all calls promptly. We ask that all media inquiries, including requests for interviews (be they with patients, family members, staff, physicians, or volunteers) and filming or photography requests (including those inside and outside hospital buildings) be made first through the Office of Public Affairs and Strategic Planning.
To reach the Office of Public Affairs and Strategic Planning during regular office hours (9am to 5pm):
- McGill University Health Centre adult sites and Research Institute of the MUHC
o Tel. 514-843-1560
o Fax. 514-843-1696
o Email: public [dot] affairs [at] muhc [dot] mcgill [dot] ca
- The Montreal Children’s Hospital
o Tel. 514-412-4307
- Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
o Tel. 514-398-1902
For urgent media requests on weekends, after hours and during statutory holidays:
- Please call 514-934-1934 ext. 33333 and ask the operator to page the “On-Call Communications Coordinator”
Relations with the media are governed by the following MUHC guidelines:
- The MUHC is bound by the Act Respecting Access to Personal Health Information. As such, all members of the media must provide advanced notice to the MUHC Public Affairs office before conducting an interview with a patient, staff member or physician. Members of the media must also be accompanied by a representative from the MUHC Public Affairs office, or hospital delegate, while at the MUHC. Unaccompanied journalists will be removed from the premises, by Security Services if necessary.
- Any patients or family member being interviewed by the media must first sign an official MUHC consent form.
- Even if family members consent to speaking with the media, permission from the MUHC Public Affairs office is required if that interview is to take place within the hospital or on hospital grounds. The MUHC reserves the right to decline media interviews when there is a medical or other justification.
- The MUHC does not permit journalists in our Emergency Rooms, Operating Rooms or Intensive Care Units or in other areas of the hospital that may be disruptive to healthcare services.
- When using a still or video camera, care must be taken to ensure other patients, and the general public, are not captured/recognizable on film, and that no medical records or other medical information is recorded.
- The MUHC will try to provide experts on various topics, but our experts may not be available within the given time frame. Staff and physicians have the right to refuse requests from the media.
- Reporters must identify MUHC staff by their HOSPITAL title and not just their university title in stories related to their work or to their role at the MUHC.
- Reporters are asked to use the complete name of the institution – McGill University Health Centre – when referring to the hospital or its staff in a print or broadcast story. On second reference the hospital may be referred to as the MUHC.
- The MUHC will only confirm the presence of a patient if they or their next-of-kin consent, or if the police have previously released this information. When media inquire about a patient by name, the hospital can only provide confirmation (with patient consent) that the patient has been admitted or treated and discharged; and/or the current condition of the patient. Our health care professionals cannot comment further on a specific patient, including the reason for hospitalization, nature of illness or injury, prognosis, possible discharge date and name(s) of attending physician(s), even with patient consent. Patients or their next-of-kin have the right to refuse to have updates provided to media. In this situation, the MUHC cannot confirm the patient’s presence in hospital or provide their status.
- All uses of the MUHC name and logo for external promotion must be authorized by the MUHC Public Affairs office.
- Being in hospital is a stressful time for our patients and their families. The MUHC’s first priority is to provide compassionate, quality care to our patients and support families during their time of need. Patients and their families may not wish to have media involved and we ask that media please respect their wishes.