COVID - 19 Enquiries
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be announced by the Department of Health and Human Services once a day. All close contacts are notified and potential exposure points are contacted and provided with advice regarding risk of transmission and cleaning procedures.
Please refer your questions regarding COVID-19 to the DHHS 24 hour media hotline on 9096 8860.
We will release statements if and when our processes regarding public access change. We are not able at this time to respond to each media enquiry as we are focused on delivering for our community the highest standard of safe and accessible care.
Out of Hours media enquiries
We are running our 'on call' service for urgent media enquiries only. Please phone the switchboard who will forward your call to the Patient Flow Coordinator (03) 5320 4000.
Media Relations at BHS
The Communications Team is responsible for managing all media relations and enquiries relating to BHS’, staff, patients and research activities. We are the first point of contact for any media enquiry or visit to any of our sites across Ballarat and the Western Region.
A Communications staff member will accompany media during your visit, including for interviews, filming and photography. This is primarily to ensure patients, families and visitors are not disturbed during their stay at BHS and that full written consent is received before permitting media to film, photograph or interview our patients. It is also to consult staff about media presence onsite and to ensure staff are not interrupted while performing their jobs. We will not commonly approach a patient’s relatives or friends for media participation on site.
BHS has experts on a broad range of health topics who may be available to assist you with your stories and story ideas. Please contact the Communications team if you wish to submit a request to speak with one of our experts. Please do not contact staff directly.
Media are invited to contact the Communications team to discuss story ideas:
T (03) 5320 6421
M 0466 149 289
After hours we run an 'on call' service for urgent media enquiries only. Please phone the switchboard who will forward your call to the Patient Flow Coordinator (03) 5320 4000. For all other enquiries, please contact the Communications Team during business hours.
Enquiries about the condition of patients
At Ballarat Health Services, we pride ourselves on protecting the privacy of our patients, clients, residents and staff.
We adhere to the Health Services Act 1988 when releasing patient information to third parties. The legislation dictates what information we are able to release without the written permission of the patient or their next of kin.
Without expressed consent, we are unable to provide information about a patient’s injuries; illness or prognosis; about surgical intervention or procedures; or about where a patient is located in the hospital.
We will provide a condition report at the discretion of BHS staff. When providing a patient condition, we categorise the condition using the following descriptors:
- Discharged – the patient has left our hospital. This could mean they have been sent home or transferred to another facility.
- Stable – the patient is stable and vital signs are within normal limits. They are likely to be on a regular ward (not high dependency or intensive care).
- Serious – The patient may be unstable and their vital signs not within normal limits. The patient could be in the intensive care unit or acute ward. Their injury or illness may be life threatening.
- Confirming patient deaths – we will confirm the death of a patient only after we have confirmed that the deceased’s family or next of kin is aware and have provided consent for this disclosure.
Media interviews can be arranged privately with patients once they have been discharged from Ballarat Health Services. Note that BHS is unable to provide patient contact details.
Information about a patient
When contacted about a patient, whose name you do not know, we are guided by the information you provide. The more information you can offer that will help us to identify the patient, the more likely we can assist you quickly.
Information commonly provided by reporters:
- Accident location (if relevant)
- Time of incident or reported arrival in hospital
- Gender and approximate age
If we are able to identify the patient we will provide a generic condition for you. We are unable to confirm name, age or any other details about that person.
If a patient’s next-of-kin requests that we do not release a condition, we will not do so.
If a patient has been admitted to a ward or moved to another part of the hospital, it may not be possible to provide any further information.
Have something to tell us? We welcome all feedback from patients, family members or carers. Tell us more.