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Formerly: St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Social Media House Rules

The Communications Team at Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (MWL) is responsible for several different social media accounts on a number of platforms.

We are present on the following channels:

These guidelines are in place to help create an environment where our community can engage and are free to make comments, ask questions and share their experiences of our services on all social media channels run by MWL.

We are always interested in hearing from you and ask if you use our channels please show courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members.

How we use social media

If you follow us on social media, we do not automatically follow back. Being followed, using hashtags or mentioning other accounts does not imply endorsement of any kind.

We will repost or share where we think it is useful or interesting but, again, this is not an endorsement.

We may use some scheduling tools to help us ensure content is spread across the week. The Trust’s updates may increase due to important news or in the case of an emergency, for instance. 

The Trust’s social media content will cover some or all of the following: 

• alerts about new content on digital channels, for example, news, publications, videos or health campaigns 

• sharing content from organisations we follow, such as other NHS organisations, the emergency services and public sector organisations

 • information on public health topics and campaigns

 • occasional live coverage of events

 • Trust staff achievement and awards

We update and monitor our social media accounts during normal office hours, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. Occasionally the Trust may cover events outside of these hours on social media platforms relating to current news/incidents and events.

From time to time, social media platforms may be unavailable, and the Trust accepts no responsibility for lack of service due to social media service downtime.

Talking with us online

The Trust welcomes feedback and ideas from all followers. However, the Trust may not be able to reply individually to all the messages received via our social media profiles.

We read all comments to and about the Trust on social media platforms and ensure that any emerging themes or helpful suggestions are passed to relevant people in the organisation. Compliments and complaints are routinely passed onto colleagues in relevant hospital departments, as well as the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

We may use your contact information/ usernames to respond to messages/ comments you send to us. If you post publicly on social media, we may share/ retweet your post with our followers.

If the Trust needs to direct message you or you direct message the Trust, the Trust will follow a user’s profile and may unfollow it afterwards. This may happen if the Trust asks for contact information via Direct Message. When the Trust replies to questions it may include us asking for an email address or contact number in order to give you a full response outside of the character limits on some social media services.

We do not respond to messages of a commercial nature.

The Trust cannot engage on issues of party politics.

It is important to note that all comments and postings by followers ("User Content") do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

When comments and queries posted outside of working hours on social media represent a risk to patient safety or a serious risk to the Trust’s reputation, the Communications manager on-call will respond.

Other ways of contacting the Trust are detailed in the ‘Contact Us’ section of our website:  

Media enquiries 

If you have a media enquiry and would like to contact the Communications Team, please call 0151 430 2505 or 0151 478 7518 during normal office hours, Monday-Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm.

For enquiries out of normal office hours, please contact the hospital's switchboard on Tel 0151 426 1600 and they will contact the General Manager who will direct your call to the member of the Communications Team on call.

Our House Rules

By engaging with our social media channels you agree to follow these guidelines:

  • all users must comply with the social media platform’s terms of use, as well as these terms of use
  • you are wholly responsible for any content you post, including content that you choose to share
  • we will remove, in whole or in part, or ignore posts that we feel are inappropriate
  • we will delete comments and block accounts spreading misinformation or disinformation.
  • we will report and remove any social media profiles that are set up using MWL imagery without permission

We will remove, block, ban and/ or report users to the associated social media platform who direct messages at us which we believe:

  • bully, harass or intimidate any individual or organisation
  • are unlawful, libellous, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane
  • promote discrimination based on the protected characteristics; age, disability, gender, martial status, pregnancy, race, religion and sexual orientation
  • are deceptive or misleading
  • infringe or violate someone else's rights
  • violate the law
  • violate any intellectual property rights
  • discuss on-going legal proceedings
  • are spam (persistent negative and/ or abusive tweeting in which the aim is to provoke a response)
  • advertise products or services
  • are irrelevant or off-topic
  • are disruptive
  • are repetitive

We will also remove, block, report or ban any user who:

  • encourages others to post such messages
  • uses offensive images as their profile picture
  • has an offensive username

Hopefully we will not have to do this, but we hope you understand the reasons.

We reserve the right to modify or change these house rules at any time.


We aim to make our social media as accessible as possible for our communities, and there are a number of ways we do this:

  • Adding image descriptions to photos on social platforms
  • Using CamelCase in hashtags to ensure that screen readers interpret hashtags correctly
  • Adding subtitles to videos


We are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We may use analytics or third parties to analyse our social media channels for trends, insights and engagement.

What to do if you see something that doesn’t look right

Should you spot any content or comments posted on our social media channels which you believe are not in accordance with these house rules, please report it to the MWL communications team via email and / or the relevant social media channel.