Reporting Scotland editor lies to complainant (not me)

every day last week – the highest since the start of the pandemic.

In the morning of the 15th January 2022, Reporting Scotland told us that ‘about’ 52 200 staff were off in the week-ending 11 January. They had stupidly added up the absences from each day to get that nice big figure, ignoring the fact that many of these were the same people each day.

I pointed this out by around 9 am and wrote a complaint, as did a reader of TuS. By 1.30pm they had changed the story to the above but, amazingly, had replied within 24 hours to our reader (not to me though). They wrote:

Reference CAS-7061225-Q6W7R3

Thank you for your comments. Your complaint was raised with editors at Reporting Scotland and BBC News Online Scotland.

This was a story that NHS staff absence was at its highest levels since the initial months of the pandemic, and we reported this correctly.

However, you are right that there was a mistake in our wording. Our story should have referred to there being more than 50,000 staff absences over the week – that is the number of staff days lost – rather than this figure being the total number of NHS staff. We apologise for this mistake and have corrected it for later reports.

Thanks again for getting in touch. Complaints are also shared with senior management every morning via our overnight reports.

Kind regards,

BBC Complaints Team

They didn’t correct it, they carefully adjusted it to still suggest a massive problem. Importantly, the clarification ‘number of staff days lost’ which our reader apparently needed was not needed for viewers at 1.30pm. It was not mentioned.

Nor, again was there any context.

50 000 staff days lost? From how many in total? What percentage?

There are 160 000 NHS Scotland staff working 5 of those 7 days that week, or 800 000 staff days in total. So, 6.25% were absent. Not exactly a crisis?

8 thoughts on “Reporting Scotland editor lies to complainant (not me)

  1. I’m still bamboozled by their “Our story should have referred to there being more than 50,000 staff absences over the week – that is the number of staff days lost – rather than this figure being the total number of NHS staff. We apologise for this mistake and have corrected it for later reports” explanation.

    The table you published earlier showed 7,174 staff absent for the entire week ending 11/1/22, they could and should have simply stopped there.

    Their now demoted article still has the same bar-graph showing 50,000 absences, and comments still open…

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The BBC is of course talking shite or more probably wallowing in it. The SNHS is to all intents and purposes a Corporation, massive infrastructure portfolio and nearly four times as many staff as say for instance multi national facilities service company, maybe around 500,000 staff. Average absence levels are ( pre pandemic ) 11.5 per year per staff member. That’s around 12%. The Scottish NHS in the middle of a pandemic and according to the shite stirrers have the worst ever absence rate at under 7% are doing pretty well and probably better than the bbc. Well done SNHS.
    By the way I did this in my head, I’m sure somebody with a calculator could do a much better job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Good News:-
    They have, to some extent, altered their story after complaints.
    A year ago, that would not have happened.

    The Bad News:-
    They still regard “news” as a political asset, to be altered as suits their nefarious purposes.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. How could any ‘journalists’ be so ignorant. It is just impossible. They must be doing it deliberately. No wonder people do not listen to or believe the BBC reports. It is just unbelievable.

    These people have degrees and are getting large salaries. How can they be so wrong, all the time. The BBC costs £5Billion a year. They cannot even get simple maths or facts in order.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After watching the excellent documentary about Hillsborough last week, it seems that the BBC are akin to the police forces etc who blamed everybody but themselves for what actually happened. Manipulating figures to suit, and when getting found out shifting things about a bit with no actual full correction of facts or the story. Be nice if they could come up with a good SNHS story but I doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I never expect anything less than biased coverage from the BBC. They could have easily provided a breakdown of the absent staff duties, the percentage of the workforce they represented, and the rise compared to the previous weeks, or even tell its few viewers, when the numbers go down, Yes,its ‘news’ but, I always come to Talking Up Scotland for the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

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