The Community of Madrid has banned health professionals from speaking to the press, according to an internal statement released Tuesday by the regional government and quoted by ‘El Pais’.
In the note released, the government asks that professionals “never act on their own”, since prior authorization from the Hospital Unit Directorate is always necessary, when an interview or information request is made by a journalist, and thus they will be chosen. professionals “who can represent the institution in the best conditions”.
The purpose of this standard is to promote “a positive image” and to cushion “any negative impact that may arise”. In the communiqué, it is also requested a constant monitoring of the means of communication to learn about the «treatment given to information» and the respective «scope» in public opinion.
All these steps are the responsibility of the person in charge of communication, who will get in touch with the hospital professional, agreeing the interests of both parties and also determining «the right time and place» to conduct the interview. If there is no agreement, “the health institution’s opinion will prevail so as not to impair its normal functioning” and the journalist will always be informed of the reason for not having the meeting.
If the journalist does not follow the “correct procedure” and tries to get in direct contact with the health professional, the latter, in turn, will have to “send him to the communication office” to organize the interview, being obliged to do so “as before »,« to guide and adapt the information activity ».
The Ministry of Health indicates that when it comes to an interview or a purely technical report, “your convenience or not” will be determined, together with the management of the hospital and health personnel.
Finally, the document warns that health units “cannot be held responsible or assume the declarations made to the media” by health professionals when they happened “outside the channels” of the protocol.