Media Interest

As this is a new procedure, there is likely to be considerable media interest. As a potential recipient of a transplant, you may or may not want to be involved in such publicity. Whatever your decision the hand transplantation team and Leeds teaching hospitals trust, will support you in every way possible. Confidentiality is paramount in all aspects of medicine and we will not disclose your identity or any medical details to anyone.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals works closely with the media to ensure wherever possible that there is a positive and accurate portrayal of the activities of our hospitals on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines as well as website news sources.

As one of the leading NHS trusts in the UK we are proud of the cutting-edge procedures undertaken here in Leeds. Publicising them enhances our hospitals’ reputation with current and future patients as well as providing the public with information about the work our staff do to enhance patient care.

Hand transplantation is a new procedure in the UK and therefore there has already been a high degree of media interest in preparations in Leeds to undertake the country’s first transplant operation of this kind. As part of this the Trust has formally agreed to participate in an observational documentary to be broadcast on BBC TV, which is being made by True North Productions, a film company based in Leeds.

The film company are already following aspects of the process in conjunction with the clinical team, and have been meeting potential patients for a chat and to discuss participation in the filming. This is entirely voluntary, and there is no obligation on patients to take part.

Where patients are filmed this will be undertaken with signed consent, and measures are in place to safeguard patient confidentiality for people not wishing to take participate as well as to ensure the factual accuracy of the film, which we see as an important factual record of a significant milestone in transplantation surgery in this country.

The Trust is also working in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant to ensure the issue of organ donation is handled appropriately and sensitively within the film.

In addition to the background filming – for a programme which will be screened some time after the first operation has taken place – it is recognised there will be legitimate media interest in the transplant itself, and it is likely the Trust will make a formal announcement following the completion of surgery.

This will be handled with sensitivity and in discussion with the recipient and their family depending on their individual views about participating in any publicity.


The Trust has a media office which is there to give help and advice, including to patients with questions about being involved in filming. They are in close liaison with the clinical team and the film company.

Andrew Bannister, the Trust’s Head of Media Relations, will be involved in speaking to patients and families and handling media inquiries about the preparations and the surgery itself.

If there are any queries in the meantime he can be contacted on 0113 2066494. If patients and their families are considering speaking to the media independently they are strongly advised to speak to Andrew first for advice and support.

More Information

Visit the news and media section of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website.