Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Laura worked for Portsmouth Hospitals for eight years. Throughout this time, she worked as a Deputy to the Director of Communications and managed the press office.

Laura has a high ability to work with the same press when juggling both positive and negative stories, listening to their needs and responding to enquiries in a timely manner. With proven experience of working under pressure and to tight deadlines, Laura was able to liaise with Trust solicitors, find an appropriate spokesperson, complete any media training required, write statements and oversee interviews to ensure the Trust’s reputation was never jeopardised.

The organising and overseeing of media visits was a large part of Laura’s role at the hospital. 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.

VIP visits included the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, as well as soap stars and football players.

With CQC, inquest reports and hospital research uncovering’s, Laura was able to grasp complex concepts and communicate information tailored to the needs of specific audiences through targeted marketing strategies.

With CQC, inquest reports and hospital research uncovering’s, Laura was able to grasp complex concepts and communicate information tailored to the needs of specific audiences through targeted marketing strategies.

Laura has the ability to promote good news stories with various angles to multiple media outlets. 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

An example of some of Laura’s stories are below.

My hangover birthday celebration left me paralysed and unable to speak

18-year-old Ben Gray had the shock of his life after a hangover birthday celebration left him paralysed and unable to speak – despite his young age Ben had a stroke and thanks to the quick-thinking of clinicians his life was saved.

This story was written by Laura and reached 27 different titles including The Sun, The Mirror, Capital FM, Chichester Observer, Bognor Regis Observer, Hastings Observer, Eastbourne Herald, Worthing Herald and the Irish Examiner – just to name a few. ITV Meridian and BBC News also filmed with the patient and clinician, Peter Howard, on ward at QA which was organised and overseen by Laura.

A year after Laura received the above press coverage, she pitched a revisit of the story to ITV and it ran on local and national broadcast news. Laura wrote a three-page spread in the Portsmouth News about Ben. This included a cover mention. Two years later and Laura found a 22-year-old University student who also had a stroke. Laura combined both stories and pitched the feature to ITV once again, which ran on local and national news.

The big stories

Three of Laura’s biggest packaged stories (in terms of both high estimated advertising values and 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!
Laura discovered, wrote and pitched this story. The story went viral and was extensive ran throughout the United States. The E channel, Perez Hilton’s blog site, People and US Weekly ran the story, reaching a total audience of 109 million. British audience pick up included the Mirror, Daily Star, The Sun, Pick Me Up! As well as three local regional newspapers.

Daybreak/ITV news – Royal Baby George and Charlotte coverage
Laura created a marketing package before, during and after the birth of the Royal baby George and later Charlotte. Laura organsied for the local newspaper and heart radio to interview women and midwives before, during and after the birth of George. The total EAV of news coverage achieved for this was £179,562.40. When the Duchess was in labour with Charlotte Laura organised for ITV’s Good Morning Britain to film the Head of Midwifery talking about what Kate could be going through while in labour, reaching an audience of 1.3million.

Organising and overseeing filming

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.

ITVs The Tonight Programme, ‘Young & Obese – Confronting the Crisis’
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.

Use the button below to watch the interview with the bariatric surgeon. Laura organised the interview, escorted the surgeon to the studios and oversaw the interview.

Good Morning Britain – Director of Midwifery, government national maternity report.
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, in particular with use of the MyBirthPlace app, which allows women to choose where they would like to give birth.

Working with two news channels on one story Laura will sometimes 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.

ITV and BBC – changing the diet of a 29-stone man 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.

ITV: I gave birth to two sets of twins in four years
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