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  1. Media Law
March 20, 2017

Four Trinity Mirror titles issue correction over NHS Trust over leaked report

By Freddy Mayhew

Four Trinity Mirror newspapers have issued page two corrections after running th same article claiming to reveal the planned closure of health services.

The story appeared concurrently in Trinity Mirror titles the Coventry Telegraph, Nuneaton News, Hinckley Times and Tamworth Herald on 1 December, 2016.

All carried the headline: “Revealed: Secret £250m bonfire of NHS services that will hit young, old and infirm.”

The article was said to have been  based on leaked details of the Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

It revealed Coventry hospitals would face extra pressure because of plans to shut A&E, maternity and children’s care at Nuneaton.

It also said the plans included restrictions on overweight people and smokers getting non-emergency surgery.

The University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that the article was inaccurate.

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It said it was inaccurate to report that the A&E at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton would close, or that there would be restrictions on surgery for those who were overweight, smoked, or were over a certain age.

It also said that it was not approached for comment until after the story had been published in print and online.

The C0ventry Telegraph failed to contact the Trust prior to publication “due to an oversight”.

After the matter was referred to IPSO, each title agreed to publish a correction on page two.

It read: “Following a series of articles concerning Coventry and Warwickshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), in which we said that the A&E Department, Maternity and Childrens’ Unit at GEH were set to close and move to move to  UHCW, the STP board has confirmed that plans for a single A&E and Maternity Unit for Coventry and Warwickshire have not been discussed or agreed as part of the STP planning process, that no decisions have been made for the future of A&E or Maternity Services at the George Eliot Hospital and that no changes will be made to any service without full engagement with public and staff.

“Further, UHCW state: ‘The STP plans are not about hospitals closing. It is about designing services differently with the resources that we have and focusing on preventing physical and mental ill health.  The joint vision across health and social care is to work together to deliver high quality care which supports our communities to live well, stay independent and enjoy life.’”

The Trust said this action resolved the matter to its satisfaction.

As the complaint had been successfully resolved, IPSO did not rule on whether there had been a breach of the code.

Picture: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth 

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