BBC Scotland feel no remorse if the elderly and vulnerable suffer from their failure to inform

On February 20th 2023, I sent this to BBC Complaints:

Failure to inform viewers important NHS issues 

Since the beginning of December 2022, there have been numerous strikes by nurses, ambulance staff and other key health service workers which the BBC UK broadcasts have carefully reported, early and repeatedly, fulfilling their duty as a public service broadcaster, to alert the public, especially the older and more vulnerable who rely on TV news. The elderly and vulnerable in Scotland may have seen and been confused and worried by these reports because BBC Scotland has never reminded them that, on all of those days, all health services in Scotland were operating normally. This failure of your charter will have caused confusion, will have caused those at risk to hesitate in calling for help and may have resulted in avoidable deaths. What reason could you possibly have for this neglect other than to avoid having to cast the Scottish Government in a positive light? 

Today, after 19 days, they reply:

Thank you for your correspondence. Your comments were passed to the Editor, Reporting Scotland, who has asked that I forward their response as follows:

“Thank you for being in touch about the programme and its reporting of industrial action by NHS workers.

You do not give any examples from anywhere in the BBC’s output of what you are complaining about. The BBC’s Editorial Complaints Procedure (part of our Complaints Framework and Procedures) asks you to provide the name or title of the broadcast or published item, and the date and time of production, amongst other matters, when you submit your complaint. These details are very important if we are effectively to investigate any complaint and a failure to provide them may mean that the BBC is unable to look into the matter.

That said, I have looked at our output and it is clear that when the Network News refers to industrial action in England, it says it is in England (or Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland or any combination of these, where appropriate). Reporting Scotland carries stories about industrial action in Scotland and says that the events are happening here. If the respective network and Scottish bulletins clearly delineate what and where they are talking about, I struggle to understand what more you might think should be said.

As you acknowledge, the network bulletins clearly reported which areas of the various services have been affected by strike action. I don’t believe that the audience in Scotland watching those bulletins would have been confused about which parts of the UK were impacted by strikes, and generally I would expect Reporting Scotland to cover things which are happening in Scotland, not things which aren’t. I do not believe our telling people what is relevant to them and what is not relevant to them will cause confusion, make people hesitate in calling for help or even die, but I thank you for asking us to reflect on the matter.

Thank you for being in touch about our output.”

Kind regards

BBC Scotland Complaints Team

So, you cannot complain about them not reporting something important even if it might harm the elderly and vulnerable, their main audience?


6 thoughts on “BBC Scotland feel no remorse if the elderly and vulnerable suffer from their failure to inform

  1. Complaints will never be upheld in Scotland because the whole purpose of BBC Scotland news is to confuse people in Scotland and lie about what happens in Scotland , sometimes this involves not reporting something but as I have told other people throughout my life , not mentioning something that is important to the discussion is the same as lying .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The BBC response is in itself quite revealing in that as the complaint was apparently unable to be more specific (snigger) it clearly was unable to ‘effectively investigate’ the issues raised. In essence they just looked at a couple of bulletins.

    Of course the hostility to the Scot SNP Government goes much deeper within the BBC. Apologies in advance as unable to track it down on ‘Catch up’ but a recent ‘Pointless’ programme asked contestants to name countries that produced more than 30% of their energy from ‘Renewable’ sources. Alex Armstrong was apparently ‘prevented’ from beaking this down further but the UK at 37% was in any event excluded. Yet another small example amongst many others where they just do want people to know the truth.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have it on good authority that Kafka based his novel The Trial on his experience of complaining to the BBC and their subsequent non-replies !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Key part of BBC Scotland response –
    “generally I would expect Reporting Scotland to cover things which are happening in Scotland, not things which aren’t”

    If they report strikes that are happening in Scotland, they have a duty to say they have now stopped. Surely that’s covered by their ‘duty to inform’.


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