We saw this BBC Scotland tendency with the tiny number of victims of hospital acquired infections who, of course, did not die FROM them, used to force an unnecessary public review, at massive cost to the taxpayer, on the Scottish Government. Reading yesterday how BBC Northern Ireland covered the cases of abuse at Muckamore Abbey Hospital we see all too clearly the difference.

In April 2019, BBC Scotland reported on anecdotal evidence from only two patients who had been maltreated by staff and told us that ‘experts’ (unnamed and unnumbered) had called for the unit to be shut down.

Referring to drug abuse to control patients in the unit, Dundee-based Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the allegations were “horrifically worrying” and “I am calling today on the cabinet secretary for health to put NHS Tayside mental health services into crisis measures because this is about public confidence.

BBC Scotland then went on to produce a documentary which lacks the qualities of any good documentary, relying entirely, as it does, on recollections from a very small self-selecting sample of often-traumatised patients, who have come forward, and the partisan comments of an opposition politician (Marra).  There is, of course, reliable evidence, missed by BBC Scotland, to suggest that the reported incidents which, of course, must be investigated, are not representative of the unit or of the majority of its staff. The Review of Adult Mental Health Services in Tayside on 7–9 December 2017 by Healthcare Improvement Scotland found no major concerns of this kind at all. The full report can be read at:

http://www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org/our_work/governance_and_assurance/programme_resources/tayside_mental_health_review.aspx

In sharp contrast, the 1 500 incidents recorded as evidence on CCTV has resulted in NI politicians calling for a review. No opposition politician was allowed to make hay with the story and there is no media feeding frenzy by BBC NI.