BBC non-response to NHS complaints – it just gets worse

In a recent post, I described how a Twitter acquaintance (@denisechester) had received an even more blasé reply from the BBC to a complaint about its non-coverage of the destruction of the NHS than the one I got.

Well, she didn’t leave it there. She complained about the response as well – and what she got back was even more appalling and nonsensical:

From: bbc_complaints_website@bbc.co.uk [mailto:bbc_complaints_website@bbc.co.uk] 
Sent: 18 July 2012 16:38
To: Denise Chester
Subject: BBC Complaints – Case number CAS-1560891-N88S65


Dear Ms Chester

Reference CAS-1560891-N88S65

Thanks for contacting us again regarding your concerns about the BBC’s coverage of the NHS reform bill.

Please accept our apologies if our previous response wasn’t wholly relevant to your comments.

As we also advised however, we have heard the wide range of opposition to the NHS reform bill across our extensive coverage; from politicians, health workers and members of public alike since the reforms were proposed.

In addition to this coverage however, I note that you would like to see probing of the links you believe exist between Andrew Lansley’s office and the health care and pharma industries, and exploration of your concerns the bill represents “the destruction of the NHS”.

Choosing the stories cover is a subjective matter and one which we know not every viewer or listener will feel we get right every time. However, BBC News does appreciate the feedback when viewers and listeners feel we may have overlooked or neglected elements of a story.

I’d therefore like to assure you that we’ve registered your further comments on our audience log, made available to BBC staff across the Corporation.

Thanks again for contacting us.

Kind Regards

Two main points leap out from this piece of drivel:

1) Saying that it’s not important to cover the damage the Act is causing since it became law because you gave extensive coverage of the discussions and protests about the Bill before it became law is like saying that you covered the build-up to World War II plenty, so you don’t need to mention the War itself (Basil Fawlty, anyone? He was on the BBC).

2) Denise doesn’t just believe that links ‘exist between Andrew Lansley’s office and the health care and pharma industries’. It’s a documented fact – among plenty of other places, in the Parliamentary record of Members’ interests here (search for Lansley and note the donation from Julian Schild of healthcare company Huntleigh. One of the other donations, from ‘Andrew Scott’ may well also be from the Andrew Scott who works for Agfa Healthcare, but I don’t have enough information to be certain, and it’s a fairly common name. Care UK, another private provider also gave Lansley substantial donations, also documented in the Parliamentary record (though not in the same document linked above) and in various newspapers/sites (google ‘Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare and you’ll find plenty of evidence). The BBC knows all this, so for them to describe it as ‘believed’ is disingenuous at best. There is no doubt whatsoever that this is a matter that is both real and worthy of investigation and exposure.

For the BBC to respond on either point as it has would be lamentable. For them to do so on both merely demonstrated the extent to which the broadcaster has bowed to the blackmail & coercion carried out by the Cameron government since it came to power in 2010.

I believe we need the BBC – as an impartial, honest and diligent reporter of the facts of what is going on in our country. If you do too, please complain to the BBC and let me know what you get back. If enough people do so, we might just build up enough awareness and momentum to have a chance of effecting an improvement!


  1. Done, though I took with their 1500 character limit and had to hack it to pieces. Dumbing down much?

    “I am increasingly disturbed at poor coverage given to the Health and Social Care Act and its devastation to the NHS. Mass demonstrations against the reforms in March, not an everyday event in the UK, were largely ignored and I was surprised what I saw went unreported. Despite the upheaval the then Bill would cause the public in accessing services, on the day it became law the BBC instead lead with the Olympic torch relay and Kate Middleton. Recently the government removed the cap on hospitals’ private income, providing a clear opportunity to facilitate privatisation of the NHS. This did not even appear on BBC Health; its headline concerned contestant psychology on The Weakest Link, hardly a more pressing matter. As I write this several newspapers lead with revelations that a private hospital delayed NHS operations for profitable work; a dangerous precedent in how all uncapped hospitals could run in future. Again, no mention on the BBC. Your NHS stories almost universally report on its failings with no mention of budget cuts, reduced staffing, supply shortages or administrative issues NHS reforms have caused. Reporting failures in any public service is a necessary standard, but cynics would argue that ignoring causes suggests influencing rather than informing the public. This absence cannot be dismissed as unimportant or not in the public interest as you’ve previously maintained and is highly suspicious. It has left me deeply dubious of BBC journalism.”

  2. I don’t believe we need an impartial broadcaster, as the very concept is absurd. We need a broadcaster that takes a partial position in favour of the public interest, the wider interest of the general population, certainly not yet another that bats for the minority in power.

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