Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New news ?

The billing for the BBC News at Ten says it brings you "the latest national and international news". Last night's lead was "an extended report" by correspondent Ed Thomas from the A&E department of the Royal Blackburn Hospital, filmed over a week. Huw said it contained "new evidence" of the immense pressures on the NHS, at the start of a week of special NHS coverage.

This was certainly slower news, in terms of duration - taking up 7 minutes 20 seconds - but had plenty of impact. The BBC, we were told, had been given "exclusive" access - but who made the call ? CEO Kevin McGee, who looks like a pretty media-savvy guy, said he wanted us to "see how busy we are, how difficult it can be". Waiting times, for some sitting on the floor, went above 13 hours. Some people were being treated on trolleys in corridors.

Some of the context followed in a second piece from Health Editor Hugh Pym, re-nosed to cover a Government move to stiffen resolve in reclaiming money from "health tourists".

And yet. The BBC's special Health Check pages tell us 9 out of 10 NHS hospitals are "unsafe", having more than 85% of beds filled since December.  The exact figures - 137 out of 152 Trusts. But last March, the figure was worse - 143 out of 154.

Old-school hacks hate these special weeks; stuff that should be in current affairs shows, they argue. Let's see where it all goes. Meanwhile, some of the phrasing on the News website is a little loose...

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