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Anti-GP press result of deliberate leak

A deliberate leak of Government statistics led to ‘invented' anti-GP headlines, the Information Centre admitted this week.

Documents obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act detail the full extent of the internal inquiry launched after the leak at the end of July.

However, nobody within the Government or from non-Government groups who has access to the information has admitted being responsible.

The Sunday Times and Daily Mail both ran stories in July, with claims a leaked version of the GP workload survey ‘proved doctors are raking in more for less work'.

At the time GPs cried foul at yet another example of anti-doctor spin, and BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum raised the matter with senior officials at the Department of Health.

The inquiry by the Information Centre, the Government's data arm, said the stories contained ‘a mixture of the key findings, detailed information in the report, and invention'.

The centre reported an ‘apparent breach' of the National Statistics Code of Practice to the National Statistician, and demanded written responses to its investigation from all those with pre-release access to the data, including ministers and department officials.

But despite this, the inquiry concluded ‘nobody explained how the report could have been leaked'.

In a strongly worded letter to all those involved, the Information Centre warned leaking statistics would lead to ‘an undermining of public confidence in the figures'

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