Resolution Statement: Complaint 04846-15 Orekunrin v The Mail on Sunday

    • Date complaint received

      22nd October 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 12 Discrimination

Resolution Statement: Complaint 04846-15 Orekunrin v The Mail on Sunday 

Summary of complaint

1. Dr Olamide Orekunrin complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Mail on Sunday had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Exposed: The Foreign doctors milking the NHS for drugs… to send to their families back home”, published on 9 May 2015. 

2. The complainant said that the article had inaccurately reported the findings of her fitness to practise hearing. She denied, as the article alleged, that she had been attempting to gain free NHS treatment for her patient; she said she had made it clear to the hospital that she wanted the patient to be treated privately. She also said that the headline categorised her as a “foreign doctor”, even though she was born and raised in Britain. 

3. The newspaper said that the public findings of Dr Orekunrin’s fitness to practise hearing published by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) had not acknowledged that she was trying to obtain private treatment for the patient. It pointed out that it had contacted Dr Orekunrin for comment prior to publication, and that her side of the story had been included in the article. The publication denied that it had called her a “foreign doctor”. It highlighted that the article had referred to her as a “British doctor” on two separate occasions; additionally, in the print edition of the newspaper, part of Dr Orekunrin’s story was placed in a separate panel to the main article, with a sub-headline that read “… and jaw-dropping case of flying doctor who smuggled Nigerian into UK hospital”, thereby distinguishing her from the “foreign doctors” mentioned in the main article. 

Relevant Code Provisions

4. Clause 1 (Accuracy) 

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance. 

iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact. 

Clause 12 (Discrimination) 

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability. 

ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story. 

Mediated outcome

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

6. The newspaper amended the article online, and added the following footnote: 

An earlier version of this article may have suggested that Dr Orekunrin was attempting to gain free NHS treatment for her patient. We now understand that it was always her intention that he would be treated as a private patient and that his family would be paying fees. We are happy to make that clear. 

7. It also published a similarly worded correction in the newspaper. 

8. The complainant said these actions resolved the matter to her 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: 03/08/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 22/10/2015