The BBC News Channel’s coverage of the government’s decision to scrap NHS Direct has descended into self-parody.
The story broke this afternoon. BBC political correspondent Arif Ansari initially reported the story fairly, presenting pros and cons, but the BBC News Channel is nothing if not biased so…
16.03 Frank Dobson, Labour – strongly attacked the move
16.06 Lord John Prescott, Labour -strongly attacked the move
16.33 Nick Chapman, chief executive of NHS Direct – spoiled the narrative by being strongly supportive of the move. Presenter Carole Walker sounded a bit taken aback by this and, having realised that he wasn’t the aggrieved quangocrat she was expecting, soon started interrupting, pushing the Prescott points. She thanked him at the end very sourly. Ha!
17.01 Reprise of part of the Chapman interview.
17.11 Reprise of part of the Prescott interview
18.03 Andy Burnham, Labour – strongly criticised the move
19.02 Partial reprise of Burnham attack (following report featuring Mr Chapman and Lord Prescott)
20.02 Partial reprise of Burnham attack
21.03 Partial reprise of Burnham attack
21.04 Gail Adams, UNISON – strongly attacked the move (“the same service but on the cheap”)
Worst BBC interviewer so far? Chris Rogers. Here are his questions to fellow beeboid Ben Wright:
– “Cameron in the early days of the last election said ‘I’ll cut the deficit not the NHS’. It was on their campaign posters. How are they justifying this?” (“Cameron”? Doesn’t he mean “David Cameron”, “Mr Cameron” or “the prime minister”?)
– “A lot of people have been contacting BBC News today saying they’ve used the NHS Direct service. They’re now very concerned at the talk of 60 hours of training for the staff, no real qualified GPs and nurses are going to be on call. Are the government saying that this new service, 111, will be safe?” Of course, they’re “concerned”. Labour and the BBC had been scaring them all evening!
– “Of course the pressure is on though. John Prescott is..I think it’s 2,500 signatures (wow!!) for his petition now..if it gets to a 100,000 – which it could easily do as momentum builds (you can hope!) – this could be an embarrassment for the government?”
So, besides the head of NHS Direct, that’s three Labour politicians, a trades unionist and some biased questioning. That’s BBC impartiality for you!