Dear Independent Press Standards Organisation,
We would like to raise a formal complaint following a recent article published in the Mail Online by Mr Connor Boyd, Deputy Health Editor.
On 8 June 2022, Mr Boyd wrote an article entitled, “Fury at video that lays bare huge A&E waits ‘being fueled by GPs’”. (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-10896287/The-shocking-video-lays-bare-dire-state-NHS.html)
The opening paragraph of Mr Boyd’s article states:
“A dire lack of access to GPs has been blamed for the country’s A&E crisis after video emerged of patients being told they faced waits of up to 13 hours in an emergency department.”
In reference to the Editors’ Code of Practice, we wish to report breaches of the following sections of Clause 1 (Accuracy):
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
There is no evidence whatsoever to demonstrate that long A&E waits result from, or are fuelled by GPs.
This headline is clearly inaccurate, misleading and not supported by text. Whilst quotations marks are used in the headline, these specific words are not attributed to anyone (anonymous or otherwise) in the article.
Our most recent appointment data from NHS Digital shows that 25.3 million GP appointments were held in April 2022, up from 16.6 million GP appointments in April 2020.
Appointments in General Practice, April 2022 – NHS Digital: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/appointments-in-general-practice/april-2022
During this same time, there were 2,028,228 A&E attendances in April 2022 compared to 916,575 attendances in April 2020.
Statistics » A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions 2022-23: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ae-attendances-and-emergency-admissions-2022-23/
It is therefore clear that all frontline health services are stretched at this time, yet Mr Boyd unreasonably and inaccurately chooses to blame GPs for delays within hospital settings and also bed shortages.
Throughout his article, Mr Boyd makes no attempt to distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact.
It is evident that this is not an opinion piece, and it appears that no GPs were interviewed and no professional medical bodies were approached for comment.
We respectfully seek your support to help correct this false narrative and restore the integrity of our GPs that continue to work above and beyond the call of duty.
Dr Ellen Welch, GP, Co-Chair DAUK
Dr Matt Kneale, Foundation doctor in A&E Co-Chair DAUK
Dr Elizabeth Toberty, GP Lead DAUK