Media Guidelines

At Health Sciences North, we recognize our responsibility to the news media to provide information of public interest and endeavour to do so in an open, transparent, and expeditious manner. In the process, we strive for balance with our other responsibility to protect patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality. All members of the media are expected to abide by the hospital's policies and guidelines in their dealings with patients, employees, medical staff and volunteers at Health Sciences North:

  • All news media representatives (whether on the telephone or in person) must identify themselves and the organization they represent.
  • Media working under specific deadlines should advise Communications so requests may be dealt with in a timely fashion.
  • Media are not permitted to interview employees, medical staff, patients and families, or enter patient care areas, including waiting rooms, unless authorized by Communications.
  • Signed patient consent must be obtained by Communications staff prior to interviews and use of photography, and Health Sciences North medical and hospital staff must be asked for their permission before any media-related activity.
  • For the protection of patient and visitor privacy and comfort, the news media must inform the Communications department if pursuing a story on Hospital premises, and consent to be escorted by Communications staff. (Not only does this foster trust and transparency; it serves to protect the interests of all involved parties.)
  • After-hours media requests shall be directed to the Senior Manager on-call through hospital switchboard.  
  • The CEO and the Board Chair shall act as Health Sciences North Board of Directors’ exclusive media contacts. Please contact the Communications department to arrange an interview.
  • Understand that not all health-care related information falls under the purview of Health Sciences North. The Hospital cannot provide information to the media with regard to the following items of media interest, but is pleased to direct you to the appropriate agencies:
    • infectious disease - Sudbury District Health Unit;
    • disaster - City of Greater Sudbury;
    • death - Coroner’s Office;
    • crime or accident-related injury - City of Greater Sudbury Police Services.
  • Health Sciences North is committed to being recognized by our patients as caring, compassionate and attentive about their care. All patient complaints are acknowledged and responded to in a timely, professional, and appropriate manner by Melanie Hinton, Health Sciences North Patient Representative. All patient complaints, even those brought forth to the media by the complainant, are considered strictly confidential. However, while we cannot respond to specifics, we can provide information on Hospital policies that may serve to clarify why certain actions or decisions are taken.

Patient Condition Updates

Under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), a patient condition update is the only information that the HRSRH is legally authorized to disclose to the media. 

The Act provides for the following: A health information custodian that is a facility that provides health care may disclose to a person the following personal health information relating to an individual who is a patient or a resident in the facility if the custodian offers the individual the option, at the first reasonable opportunity after admission to the facility, to object to such disclosure and if the individual does not do so:

  1. The fact that the individual is a patient or resident in the facility.
  2. The individual’s general health status described as critical, poor, fair, stable or satisfactory, or in similar terms.  

Explanation of Patient Conditions

Provided the media provide the patient's name, only the following terms will be used to describe the patient's condition:

CRITICAL - Questionable prognosis, vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits, there are major complications and death may be imminent.

SERIOUS - Acutely ill with questionable prognosis, vital signs may be unstable or not within normal limits, and there is a chance for improved prognosis.

STABLE - Vital signs give no cause for concern. Patient is conscious, the prognosis is favorable, but he is uncomfortable or may have minor complications.

GOOD - Vital signs are stable and within normal limits, patient is conscious and comfortable and his prognosis is good or excellent.

Contact Us

The Communications Department is the first point of contact for hospital media inquiries. We endeavour to facilitate your requests for interviews and identify the most appropriate spokesperson on any issue, be it the Board of Directors, Senior Management, physicians, or staff. We attempt to do so in an efficient and timely manner. Our aim is to offer support in your search for news about the hospital, to deliver information in an honest and transparent manner, and to be a resource in guiding you to the proper agencies in the event we cannot offer you the help you need.

The media is asked to contact the department in order to facilitate the following:

  • Patient condition updates
  • Interviews with patients, physicians and staff
  • Hospital access

Communications Inquiries:

Phone: Health Sciences North Switchboard (705) 523-7100

Media Contact:

Jason Turnbull
Communications Specialist
Work: 705-523-7100 ext. 3540
Cell: 705-507-3677

The Communications Department at HSN is an international award-winning team recognized for excellence in Healthcare Marketing and PR by Ragan Communications, a leader in ​the field of Communications.

Awards were received for: Community Forums (Community Outreach), HSN's Intranet: The Hub (Internal Communications), HSN by the Numbers and HSN: Celebrating Our Achievements (Use of Visuals)