Skip to main content

This site is best viewed with a modern browser. You appear to be using an old version of Internet Explorer.

When Jules met George

This article is more than four years old.
Jules Stockbridge, Lead Nurse (Patient Pathway Co-ordinator Team) and one of our staff governors on the Council of Governors, met up with George Welch (Press and Communications Officer) to find out more about his role in the OUH Communications Department during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her own words below, Jules explains George’s role and that of the wider team in these unusual times.

"There are lots of teams across this organisation that support frontline staff to deliver fantastic care.

"One of these teams is the Communications Department. 

"Peter Fry and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet the newest member of the team.

"George Welch (Press and Communications Officer) completed his History degree before realising that media was his passion. He undertook a Master’s degree in Journalism and then went on to do a three month intensive course to develop his shorthand and other media skills to complete his education. George’s passion was to head into sports journalism, stemming from his love of football.

"George started his career on the Oxfordshire Guardian, working in news and sports journalism. This job gave him a platform of knowledge and experience. After two years George had a dilemma, to continue as a reporter or to join OUH as a press officer.  George chose the OUH because he wanted to make a difference, dealing with “real people in the real world”. 

"George joined the Trust’s Communications team two years ago. The team is led by Matt Akid and each member of the team has specialist skills covering different areas, including website and intranet development, internal communications, social media, and supporting the Trust’s governors. 

"Since the start of the current coronavirus pandemic, George’s remit, like thousands of other staff across the organisation, has evolved. He leads on communicating positive patient stories relating to COVID-19. He has also led on generating media coverage and social media content to celebrate International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day, working closely with OMI, the Trust’s in-house team providing services including graphic design, videography and printing.

"Throughout the interview George exhibited his passion for both the OUH and for people. I learned that Rafa Benitez, a Spanish football manager who George interviewed as a reporter, is his most high-profile interviewee. He placed the football manager’s interview just below his role in supporting the Royal Visit by Prince Harry to the Oxford Children’s Hospital at the JR in May 2019. 

"The Communications team, like other services across the Trust, do so much more than we all realise. The team are key in supporting and disseminating information, linking with internal and external agencies both local and nationally. During the recent management of the Trust’s response to COVID-19, the team have supported planning seven days a week. They are on call 24/7. They are here to support staff when local attention may be focused on our hospitals. The Operational team work closely with the team on a daily basis; examples of joint activity include emergency visits of patients or relatives that might be of media interest, water failures, IT failures and Opel escalation.

"George is proud to work at the OUH and explained that although the team is based at the JR, he and his colleagues cover the whole Trust and they regularly spend time on the other sites in order for staff to have an opportunity to meet the team. George clearly enjoys the challenges of working in a small but supportive team. The Communications team are pivotal for the smooth running of the organisation and without the team the OUH may not be as predominant on the world map."

Pictured from left to right: George Welch, Jules Stockbridge, and Peter Fry