Portsmouth Hospitals

Laura has a high ability to create marketing strategies, write to target audiences, work across different sectors and industries, and meet tight deadlines.

She can grasp complex concepts and communicate information tailored to the needs of specific audiences. Engaging and influence key partners, stakeholders, the public and the media, Laura is able to listen to their needs and respond in a timely manner.

Laura has a proven experience of organising and overseeing media visits. This includes writing protocol for VIP visits, liaising with agents on behalf of celebrities and acting as a first point of call during a VIP visit.

Working as a communication support for negative stories Laura can liaise with Trust solicitors, find an appropriate spokesperson, complete any media training required, write statements and oversee interviews to ensure the Trust’s reputation is never jeopardised.

Laura also has the ability to proactively engage with press contacts to feed positive news stories about Portsmouth Hospitals. She has had stories appear in publications such as: Time Out, Chat, Pick Me Up, New Magazine; The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Sun, The Express and The Star. As well as numerous TV shows and even American publications such E-Online, Channel E, Perez Hilton’s blog page, People,  US Weekly and Star magazine.

Features and Articles

Laura has the ability to promote good news stories with various angles to multiple media outlets and this page allows you to see just some of the coverage her articles have received. Some of the below were generated through either pitching down the phone day and night, regular proactive news-gathering meetings or and sending written features to press contacts.

Laura also discovered thata 22-year-old University student also had a stroke.  Laura combined both stories and pitched the feature to ITV. 

Three of Laura’s biggest free marketing packages that generated in either high estimated advertising values or large audience reach figures include:

This Morning – Health Alert Live! Hosted by Peter Andre the TV show filmed Live at QA Hospital in Portsmouth every day for five days. The estimated advertising value for this was £465,000. 

Eminem responds to a 10-year-old fan with special Slim Shady Prosthetic legs! Picked up in the US included the E channel, Perez Hilton’s blog site, People and US Weekly reaching a total audience of 109 million. British audience pick up included the Mirror, Daily Star, The Sun, Pick Me Up! plus three local regional newspapers.

Daybreak/ITV news – Laura created a marketing package before, during and after the birth of the Royal baby George where the total EAV of news coverage achieved was £179,562.40.

Organising and overseeing filming projects

Laura has completed hundreds of different filming projects for the Trust. To get an idea of the finished product, below are two news bulletin reports from both the BBC and ITV. Each story was established by Laura and then pitched and packaged to the news channel. Laura then organised and oversaw the filming at QA Hospital.

With nearly one in four British children overweight, ITVs The Tonight Programme, ‘Young & Obese – Confronting the Crisis’, ran a story about a patient from Portsmouth Hospitals. Bariatric Surgeon Nick Carter also discussed childhood obesity.
The programme looked at issues affecting children and teenagers that are overweight, such as the hidden salt, sugar and fat in food products, and technology that seems to keep kids playing electronic games inside instead of going out to play. ITV Meridian also covered the story.

Please click on the link on the right to watch the interview with the bariatric surgeon. Laura organised the interview, escorted the surgeon to the studios and oversaw the interview.

Laura organised for Good Morning Britain to film live on site where Gill Walton, Director of Midwifery, was interviewed about the government’s national maternity report. This gave the national story a local lead where Gill discussed how Portsmouth Hospitals are already doing a lot of the recommendations in the national report, with use of the MyBirthPlace app which allows women to choose where they would like to give birth.

Laura will often pitch stories to more than one news channel. When this happens Laura is open and honest with all reporting on the story to ensure it is aired on the same day and preferably similar times. Here is an example of one story, reported differently by two different news channels.

29-stone food addict Chris Mardlin appeared alongside and Dr Denise Thomas, Head of Nutrition & Dietetics Services, to discuss the reasons for his dramatic weight loss and subsequent gain, you can watch the clips from the BBC and ITV below.

Spotting a headline has always been a gift for Laura, so when 29-year-old Joanna Jefferson gave birth to her second set of twins at 27 weeks; just four years after her first set of twins were born premature at 30 weeks, Laura was immediately on the phone to the press. Click on the right image to view ITV’s coverage of the story: 

Other filming projects

Channel 4, Fat Doctors and Surgeons – Organising and filming a number of different series. This involves filming the patient’s pre op assessment, interview of the surgeon and doctors involved,  filming of a gastric bypass or sleeve and interviews with the patient and family members before, throughout and after. 

ITV This Morning – Laura helped to write the schedule for a week’s live coverage at Portsmouth Hospitals. This involved pitching stories to the programme editors and successfully fighting off competition from other Trusts’, interviewing patients and staff , finding filming locations, organising of satellite trucks and cables, and organising a running order for the week. Laura was one of the main contacts for organising and helping to set up the logistics of filming live TV at a busy acute hospital.

Laura actively contacted Peter Andre’s management and security team after discovering that he would be hosting the show and went out of her way to complete a security walk with Peter’s security team and accommodate his reality show. Laura acted as Peter’s chaperone throughout working closely with his management, reality show film crew, security and family who also attended. Laura liaised heavily with Peter’s management to oversee media interviews that he gave to local press whilst on the hospital’s premises, protecting his reputation at all times. Following this filming Peter wrote about QA Hospital in his column for Now magazine, Exclusive magazine and New magazine ‘Planet Pete!’

ITV2 – Pete’s World – As Peter was on the hospital premises for a week his reality show also wanted to have access. Although this was initially rejected by PHT, Laura was able to put a case forward for the filming to go ahead, and in doing so organised and oversaw the filming.

BBC Documentary – Rita Simmons, Myia and Me: This episode looked at the daughter of Eastenders actress Rita Simmons (Roxy) and following the story of a seven-year-old Portsmouth patient as he underwent a Cochleur Implant.

ITV Tonight Programme – Laura has worked with the current affairs programme to produce numerous episodes, one of which was about childhood obesity which was released to coincide with the release of a government report about childhood obesity. Laura also filmed with ITV Meridian about the same story.

Daybreak – Live coverage – Filming in the maternity department when a new national maternity report is released, Laura organised for the Director of Midwifery to give interviews as well as new mothers.

ITV Kidney Transplant story – Laura initiated and organised for the filming of a kidney transplant, following the story of a patient and his adopted father as he donated a kidney. This was aired as part of World Transplant Day and ran over three-nights on Meridian South News Bulletins.

ITN Six-part series about obesity on Channel 5. Involvement in the episode that featured Britain’s fattest man, Carl Thompson (pictured right), who weighed 65 stone.

Channel 4 documentary, Superfoods: The Real Story.
Episode two about the use of charcoal to eliminate toxins in the body.

BBC3 – Love and Relationships Documentary – filming on ward in maternity department, following the stories of patients that have had babies and highlighting teenage pregnancies.

Channel 5 documentary: My Father in life and death. Four years in the making, this film recorded the devastating reality of motor neurone disease, following the life of one patient, from diagnosis to that day.

Embarrassing Bodies: We can rebuild you, which aired on Channel 4 and also appeared in the Daily Mail and Love It! Magazine.
You can read this story on the Daily Mail website here.

BBC3 documentary plus BBC South coverage – Cancerous cells detected by everyday vinegar – Laura worked as communications-support throughout the filming of this procedure, where canceous cells were detected and removed.

Daybreak/BBC/ITV/This Morning plus numerous newspapers including the Daily Mail – Showcasing an innovative kidney transplant called ABOI where a kidney transplant can take place despite patients having different blood groups. Initiated and organised the following: BBC South Today news bulletins, Meridian News, BBC Solent. Also received coverage on Daybreak, Daily Mail and Basingstoke Gazette.

Daybreak/ITV news  – Laura created  a marketing package before, during and after the birth of the Royal baby George (the total EAV of news coverage achieved was £179,562.40).

Other TV series include: BBC3 Don’t Drop the Baby, Embarrassing Bodies, BBC Real Rescues, BBC3’s ‘Don’t just stand there I’m having your baby’

Creating bespoke marketing communication strategies

The Great South Run (GSR) is an annual 10 mile or 5km road running/walking race which takes place in Portsmouth. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust teamed up the GSR.

As the Communications lead, it was Laura’s job to encourage Trust staff to participate in the event, promoting the Trust and the NHS. Laura worked closely with the Great Run team to ensure a joined up approach to communications, promoting the race to staff at the Trust, their friends and family, as well as patients and visitors. Promoting the partnership and joint initiative externally, including via mainstream and social media was also needed.

Laura created a Marketing Communications Strategy and Activity Planner. She also formed a partnership with ITV Meridian and pitched a number of stories their way. Laura left her role at the Trust three months into the six month project; however, in her time she created and oversaw two ITV Meridian broadcasts, as well as pitched and wrote the filming schedule for a third feature. Laura organised a BBC radio interview for the Great Run spokesperson and completed a number of features for The Portsmouth News.

Laura has created lots and lots of communications projects for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Here is an example of just four of them:

Task: To come up with an innovative way to stop the general public from smoking outside the main entrance of Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

Outcome Externally: Proactively worked with The Portsmouth News to create a poster competition for the general public to design an anti-smoking sign for display outside the entrance. Laura also put journalists in touch with clinical experts to create different editorial angles around the key messages for the hospital, this resulted in five features running one a day throughout the week. 

Outcome Internally: Promoted the key messages through the chief executive’s weekly message and intranet, created clippings and information for stakeholders and members monthly meetings; wrote editorial for staff internal magazine, (circa 7,000), GP magazine and stakeholder magazine (circa 9,000).

New renal procedure 

Another project required Laura to promote a revolutionary kidney transplant which allows a person with a different blood group to donate an organ. Through Laura’s work the project received over £65,000 of free advertising revenue. This included:
– a four-page spread in The Daily Mail – worth £2,400.
-Daybreak interview with patients – five minute interview, three mentions of QA Hospital – worth £25,000
-BBC Radio Solent, 10 minute interview with patients – worth £90
-BBC South Today news bulletin, including interview with surgeon and Dr that introduced procedure – worth £22,500
-Meridian TV news bulletin, including interviews with all – worth £15,000
-Radio Berkshire, 13 minute interview with surgeon and patients – worth £117
-Basingstoke Gazette feature – worth £200
Total revenue: £65,307.00

Move of vascular surgeons from Portsmouth to Southampton
Task: Create a proactive news campaign with The News in order to gain public support in the need for a public consultation on the proposal to move vascular surgeons from QA Hospital in Portsmouth to Southampton General Hospital.

Outcome: Without releasing Trust opinion on the decision, Laura fed journalists case studies and interviews with surgeons in order to highlight the importance of vascular surgery to QA Hospital.

Highlight effects of alcohol consumption to population of Portsmouth 
During Alcohol Awareness Week Laura’s aim was to get those drinking above the recommended guidelines to reduce their drinking and therefore reduce their risk of developing liver disease, whilst also raising the profile of QA hospital and its services.

By proactively engaging with press contacts to feed positive news stories about Portsmouth Hospitals, Laura has had stories appear in publications such as: Time Out, Chat, Pick Me Up, New Magazine, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Sun, Star, to name a few.

Communicating to a workforce of over 7,000

Staff at Portsmouth Hospitals are invited to a monthly team brief which is led by the Chief Executive to keep staff informed about what is going on in the hospital. Laura is responsible for designing and producing a monthly press slide.

Laura was also involved in creating content for the staff intranet, Chief Executive’s weekly message, Communications e-newsletter,as well as other numerous internal systems to get messages to staff.

Laura is the editor of the monthly staff magazine, The Link (circa 7000), and quarterly stakeholder magazine Trust Matters. Laura was also the former editor of the once magazine GP Connect, which is no longer in existence. 

The Link

Trust Matters

Handling negative media

Laura has proven experience of handling sensitive and high-profile issues and obtaining rebuttal of headlines. 
In her work Laura often reads Serious Case Reviews and drafts statements in reference to findings and recommendations. 

Working as a communication support for negative stories Laura will liaise with Trust solicitors, and agencies such as Hampshire Constabulary; find an appropriate spokesperson, complete media training, writing statements and overseeing interviews to ensure the Trust’s reputation is never jeopardised. 

Examples of statements written by Laura include:

  • QA Boss defends its cancer figures after criticism
  • Boy, six, left with brain damage due to NHS failures
  • Hospital spends £500k on locum doctors for A&E

More features and articles

A QA patient gave birth whilst in a coma. This story was picked up by: Daily Mail, Chat Magazine, Pick me Up, Best magazine, The Mirror, Daily Star, Life News, Daily Echo, Radio 5, ITV, Pregnancy websites, Australian 9 News, Romanian TV.

An Eight-year-old child saved her pocket money to buy presents for the children at QA Hospital. This story was picked up by The Metro, The Star, The Daily Mail, The Sun, Huffington Post, Swansea Sound, Palm FM, The Portsmouth News, numerous internet websites including Netmums, New Zealand based magazine Stuff and The Irish Daily Star.

Schoolgirl Abby Harrison’s lip swells to double its size from uncommon bacterial infection. This story was picked up by: The Express and Star, The Telegraph and Argus, South Wales Argus, Shropshire Star, Russian news websites, Belfast Telegraph, Portsmouth News, and the Grimsby Telegraph.

Pick me Up – ‘My silent smiley son’ 
Chat – ‘Born in a police car chase!’

A paediatric patient won a WellChild ‘Inspirational Child of the Year’
award after being nominated by Play Specialist Sue Richardson. The
award was presented by Prince Harry. WellChild filmed the awards VT in
paediatrics which was overseen by Laura, and the story ran on BBC
National, ITV and was in The Daily Mail.

Love it! magazine interviewed a member of PHT staff, Sally Evans, who was born deaf with no ears and recently heard for the first time after pioneering surgery. Laura approached news agencies with this story after following Sally’s story and featuring her on broadcast (Embarrassing bodies). 

  • Eminem responds to a 10-year-old fan with special Slim Shady Prosthetic legs! Pick up in the US included the E channel, Perez Hilton’s blog site, People and US Weekly reaching a total audience of 109 million. British audience pick up included the Mirror, Daily Star, The Sun plus three local regional newspapers.  
  • Women mag – Slimming with my soul mate – Laura pitched this for promotion to the TV Series Fat Doctors after noticing a couple both had surgery one year apart.
  • Pick me up – ‘The comeback kid’ feature about a child whose hole in his heart was filled by the use of paracetomol
  • Pick me up – ‘I was born smaller than a biro!’ 
  • Hampshire woman gave birth on the side of the motorway – Laura was alerted to this incident around 10pm so picked up the phone to her contacts which resulted in coverage on the BBC national news, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun, Mirror and ITV. 
  • Love It! Magazine/Daily Mail – We can rebuild you. Laura pitched this story following the nurse featuring on the Channel 4 TV programme Embarrassing Bodies. 

Father donates kidney to son after E-coli in the hotel swimming pool gives him renal failure. Laura also pitched under the angle of Father’s day and lack of BMI donors. Pick up included: BBC, Daily Mail, Daily Echo, Heart and Capital FM, 
Kayaker nearly dies after catching disease from rat urine while paddling down a river – Daily Mail, The Star
Chat – Neonatal staff save the life of premature baby 
Teenager has stroke days after celebrating 18th birthday: BBC, ITV, Mirror, Sun, Capital, BBC Solent and Heart FM. 
An Eight-year-old child saved her pocket money to buy presents for the children at QA Hospital. This story was picked up by The Metro, The Star, The Daily Mail, The Sun, Huffington Post, Swansea Sound, Palm FM, The Portsmouth News, numerous internet websites including Netmums, New Zealand based magazine Stuff and The Irish Daily Star.

Laura’s feature writing

Below are some of the other features that Laura has written

Video creation for social media and internal audiences

Following a training session with BBC crew Laura is able to film and produce short movies. In the past Laura has made fun light-hearted videos for social networking sites, as well as corporate videos and training videos for stakeholders and internal audiences.

This is a fun light-hearted video that Laura made about a visit to the Paediatric wards during the Christmas period.https://www.youtube.com/embed/WBvoMU1yOrs

On the right you can view a news report video Laura made about the pathology department.

You can also view a corporate video about the command centre within QA Hospital department below. This video was made solely for internal purposes so staff had a better understanding of the centre.