Beaumont Healthcare – Crisis PR

The Who

Beaumont Healthcare provides provide services ranging from daily wellbeing check calls through to high dependency palliative care.

The company has rigorous procedures during recruitment and training to prevent carers exploiting their positions of trust with service users. Job applicants are thoroughly vetted and checks are carried out to ensure they have no criminal records or history of problems in working with vulnerable adults. Beaumont then continues to monitor their records while they are working with the company.

The Why

Despite the care with which Beaumont manages its recruitment and training process, things can sometimes go wrong. Such disasters happen in even the best run businesses (and Beaumont is definitely one of those).

For Beaumont, though, sensational media coverage could have consequences beyond damage to its corporate reputation. A lot of vulnerable people could be seriously and needlessly worried.

The company called in Metrix to assess the potential damage which the media could do and to put a strategy in place to limit it.

We are used to dealing with the media. Many of us are ex-journalists (or maybe we are still journalists – much of what we write ends up in newspapers, magazines and websites).

The What

We swiftly worked through a series of ‘what if?’ scenarios with Beaumont and developed a strategy to deal with each of them. We meticulously planned media statements to cover every likely eventuality – and all the tricky questions which journalists (like us) were likely to ask.

When an incident did occur, we provided a media monitoring service to ensure that any coverage of the company would be found quickly and responded to accordingly. We set up a fully-briefed response team to deal with any journalist enquiries.

When journalists approached Beaumont, those enquiries were passed to us. By having a series of pre-approved statements we could be sure we were providing the right information to make sure that Beaumont’s “side of the story” was heard.

The Wow

Usually, one of the measures of our success is the amount of media coverage that we obtain for a client. In this case, though, we are aiming for zero coverage – and if we don’t quite manage that, then we need reasonable, balanced and reassuring coverage for the peace of mind of Beaumont’s clients.

Let’s be honest (how rarely do you hear that from a PR company?) – in a situation like this there is often an element of luck. What might make the headlines one day will get no coverage on the next day if the media is preoccupied with another, bigger, story.

And when it ‘came to the crunch’, luck was with us. The media coverage was minimal and few of the strategies and statements that we had prepared needed to be used.

Having them in place, though, provided Beaumont with reassurance that it could retain control of the situation, however it developed.

Hetty Griffiths of Beaumont said: “Having the Metrix team on standby was a huge help. They know how to deal with enquiries from journalists and were able to advise us on the best course of action. They very quickly got to grips with the challenges we faced. We felt reassured by the knowledge that the team was on hand to provide any support and assistance we needed in the face of a potential PR crisis.”