Ruling

Resolution Statement Complaint 02945-16 Millette v Daily Express

    • Date complaint received

      21st July 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 02945-16 Millette v Daily Express

Summary of complaint

1. Benjamin Millette complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Express breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Doctors’ union is risking lives just to make a point, says Ross Clark”, published on 26 April 2016.

2. The article reported that a small number of [doctors] are now enjoying huge bonuses for working illegally long hours”. It went on to report that under the terms of the pay reforms, doctors “will still enjoy annual increases” in relation to their salary and that those working in the NHS will “also enjoy final salary pensions”.

3. The complainant said that it was inaccurate for the article to report that doctors receive bonuses for working illegally long hours. In fact doctors receive backdated pay for any work outside of contracted hours. The complainant also said that it was inaccurate for the article to report that doctors will still enjoy annual pay increases. He said that annual pay progression has been removed from the new contract for junior doctors. The complainant further considered that it was inaccurate for the article to report that NHS workers will receive a final salary pension scheme as the vast majority of junior doctors are enrolled on an average salary pension scheme.

4. The newspaper said it was satisfied that the article was accurate. It said that the word “bonus” had been used because the term“banding” does not mean anything to general readers who may be unfamiliar with the NHS’ scheme of remuneration. In reference to annual pay increases, the newspaper said that within banded pay scales, doctors will receive a pay increase of between 1 and 2 percent. The newspaper maintained its position that hospital doctors are on a final salary pension scheme.

Relevant Code provisions

5. Clause 1 (Accuracy)

(i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

(ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published

Mediated outcome

6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.

7. After further correspondence, the newspaper offered to append the following clarification, as a footnote to the online article:

“Clarification

Since 1 April 2015 almost all junior doctors are on an average salary pension scheme, not a final salary pension scheme. In respect of the reference to bonuses being paid to junior doctors for working illegally long hours, we would like to clarify that this refers to the fact that junior doctors are paid backdated pay for the hours that they worked over and above what they are contracted to do.”

8. The complainant said the proposed clarification would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

9. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been any breach of the Code.

Date complaint received: 15/05/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 29/06/2016