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DAUK to appeal IPSO ruling regarding GP-bashing Mail article

DAUK to appeal IPSO ruling regarding GP-bashing Mail article

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) has said it will appeal against the press regulator’s rejection of its complaint against a GP-bashing article published by Mail Online.

Pulse yesterday revealed that the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) ruled that Mail Online did not breach journalist code by publishing an article claiming that GPs have ‘fuelled’ a crisis in England’s A&E departments.

In a tweet posted today, the DAUK’s GP Committee announced that it ‘will be appealing’ the decision.

It said: ‘Misinformation has consequences and is wearing down the entire profession.’

The DAUK added that disinformation ‘must be held to account’.

In its response to the regulator, seen by Pulse, the DAUK said that the Mail Online article is ‘entirely misleading’. 

It told IPSO: ‘We maintain that the article is in breach of clause 1 (accuracy). 

‘The headline of the article was based on the opinions of the people quoted. This is understandable for a clear opinion piece, but this is a news story where facts matter.’

The DAUK added that ‘disinformation is having a profound effect on NHS staff’ and pointed to the news that ‘another hardworking GP’ died by suicide last week

It said: ‘The morale of the profession is at an all-time low – and articles like this which casually link problems in the wider NHS as the fault of GPs is only exacerbating the problem.’ 

And it added that a Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) report referenced in the story was based on a qualitative study that questioned ‘only eight patients in depth’. 

It said: ‘From these tiny numbers, the reports were actually positive regarding their experiences of GP access – 78% had an appointment at a convenient time and only 28% waiting longer than 2 weeks for an appointment. 

‘Despite this, one comment from the report has been used in both the RCEM report and the Mail article – “many focus group participants describe getting an appointment as ‘impossible’ and claim that emergency or walk in services are a better option for them should an issue arise”. 

‘This is entirely misleading.’ 

The DAUK concluded: ‘Journalists have a duty to report facts and this article has sadly distorted them and as a regulator, this should be a major concern.’ 

In June, the DAUK raised a formal letter of complaint to IPSO about the ‘misleading’ anti-GP coverage, which garnered 2,395 signatures. 

It said that Mail Online’s story breached the ‘accuracy’ clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice (Clause 1).

The article, which topped the Mail Online website on 8 June, was headlined: ‘Fury at video that lays bare huge A&E waits “being fueled by GPs”: Campaigners say desperate patients are turning to overwhelmed casualty units because they can’t get face-to-face appointments – as video shows nurse announcing 13-hour wait’.

Following its publication, the RCGP issued a statement clarifying that there is ‘no known evidence linking long A&E waits to GP access’.

And Pulse revealed that Mail Online had misrepresented a CQC study in its coverage on the impact of GP access on A&E attendances.

Former health secretary Sajid Javid previously blamed increased pressure on A&E departments on a lack of GP appointments, which the RCGP also disputed at the time.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Decorum Est 11 August, 2022 2:52 pm

Hardly worth ‘Appealing’. The NHS as we know it is finished! GBH are in for an even more unpleasant surprise! (and clapping won’t resolve).