‘Oncologists under investigation for giving lower dosages of chemotherapy to 300 breast cancer patients refute claims they were wrong to do so. That’s according to a senior clinician at NHS Tayside. Last month doctors at NHS Tayside were ordered to come into line with other health boards. This week, experts from London have been called to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.’
This is a less dramatic case than the previous two reports here on BBC Scotland’s horribly biased coverage of a cancer patient satisfaction survey where the choice of vocabulary resulted in clear distortion and even lies. However, the agenda is still apparent.
The ‘investigation’ which the oncologists are supposedly ‘under’, is a ‘voluntary internal review’ triggered only by BBC Scotland’s exaggerated coverage, just as the review into hygiene at Glasgow hospitals only took place to satisfy media pressure. The term ‘under investigation’ has the required policing feel to position the doctors as suspects. The oncologists were not ‘ordered to come into line’ but again that language finds them guilty before any review. NHS Tayside have themselves decided that they ‘will now bring treatment into line with the rest of the country’ despite their concerns about the dangers in higher doses.
This is going to be interesting. The oncologists are not going to give up easily. Their determination to clear themselves is probably justified by the review already undertaken which found that at worst 1 death could perhaps be attributed to the dosage:
‘The overall assessment of the increased risk of recurrence within the treated cohort is extremely difficult to quantify but probably of the order of 1-2%. A risk of harm of 1-2%, allows an estimate that around 1 patient per year in NHS Tayside may have suffered an adverse outcome.’
Back on April 1st, Jackie Bird listened with a face that spoke of the empathy she was known for, as her health correspondent reported:
‘The report today pointed to the possibility of a dysfunctional department. ‘Detectives’ spoke of pharmacy and nursing staff who said they had concerns about the change of procedures, but they felt they were not being listened to and that their position was one above.’
Only Reporting Scotland use the word ‘dysfunctional’. The BBC website and all the papers I looked at (8) did not use the term either.
The report did not, of course (no time?) tell us that NHS Tayside’s breast cancer care mortality is average!
Today’s presenter has responded to my previous accusations with what seemed like genuine indignation. That tells us that the agenda has been thoroughly internalised and that for many presenters it really does not feel like bias.
Those academics just don’t understand what journalism is because they’re outsiders. We know what to do because we’ve always done it and our peers often give us awards for doing what we and they have always done.
Propaganda in a market-oriented part-democracy is the most effective history has seen because the mechanism is almost invisible.