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!

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36 Responses to NURSE! NURSE!

  1. hippiepooter says:

    The problem is, the more the public cannot help but be aware of the blatant bias, the more the Conservatives look utterly pathetic for not confronting it.


  2. john in cheshire says:

    And Thompson giving his sermon in Edinburgh, didn’t he look scruffy. There’s smart dress, there’s smart casual and there’s homeless bench-dweller. Thompson looked liked the latter. I take it to show the contempt he and his fellow socialist parasites have for us, his paymasters.


  3. Only Winding says:

    I am afraid Jeremy Hunt is proving to me a coward when it comes to the BBC and its bias towards the Labour Party.  He responded to to Mark Thompson’s Edinburgh TV lecture by saying nothing about the institutional bias that is the cancer in our national discourse.

    Quite frankly, he’s a disgrace.


    • NotaSheep says:

      Like the rest of the Conservative party, with the honourable exception of Dan Hannan, he seems incapable of understanding the damage the BBC do to democracy every day.


      • Craig Morecambe says:

        Dan Hannan, Douglas Carswell and Charles Tannock…They’re all aware of the problem but they’re all completely marginalised figures, sadly, in the present circumstances.

        Andrew Lansley never replies to e-mails about BBC bias in my experience.


    • davejanfitz says:

      see my post about mr hunt on the open thread page 3,that shows just what mr hunt is like towards the bbc …like i told him how many seats did you lose due to the bias of the bbc…..didnt answer any of my questions just sent the bog standard letter..


  4. Martin says:

    The Tories get all they deserve off the BBC, how can they have the balls to scrap NHS Direct but not the mongs at the BBC?


  5. NotaSheep says:

    “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”?)  The BBC were always careful to call Tony Blair and Gordon ‘nose picker’ Brown – Prime Minister. They are nowhere near as keen to extend David Cameron the same courtesy.


  6. john says:

    Here we go again !
    What is wrong with the Conservative Party ?
    The NHS and the BBC are joined at the hip, cloned together from a bygone age.
    For God’s sake take them BOTH on unequivocally, sort them out, sod the Guardian, Mirror and your coalition.
    Just do to these two what Labour did unequivocally to the Economy and Immigration, but the other way around.
    That is to say : no more bias from the BBC, no more excuses from the NHS.
    Is it too much to ask ?


    • Roland Deschain says:

      If the Tories are too scared to take on the BBC directly (and they clearly are, unless they actively seek their own destruction) why don’t they make it a requirement for the BBC to publish the statistics it uses in ensuring its impartiality.  In the same way that Craig does so well. I’m sure they could come up with a pretext that doesn’t sound like they are accusing it of bias.

      If one person can provide such comprehensive figures, the BBC should be able to provide copious amounts to prove their non-bias.  Except I think such a requirement would show clearly that they can’t.  They’ve never been prepared to say how they monitor bias in the past, with woolly phrases such as “balance over our whole output”.


  7. Martin says:

    I loved the way bum boy Burnham was whining on about the Tories “not discussing this”.

    So did Liebour discuss anything THEY did when in power?

    I think not.

    Piss off bum boy, you lost.


  8. David Terron says:

    Did not Labour have it in their MANIFESTO that they would do the same?


  9. David Terron says:

    Dial 111 to Replace NHS Direct Forgot link – sorryIain Dale 8:15 PM

    Mr Civil Libertarian just left this comment on my Facebook page…

    “You know, the 111 number was a part of Labour’s manifesto. See HERE.

    This isn’t a new idea from the coalition. It’s Labour’s idea. So why are they campaigning against it? Ah, of course, because it’s not them actually doing

    I hate party politics so damn much.”

    It’s a fair point. The way some people (i.e. John Prescott) have been carrying in, you’d think the coalition intended to axe NHS Direct and replace it with sweet F A. That’s not the case at all. But nothing like a good old anti Tory scare story on the NHS for Labour to pursue, is there?

    I’ll be putting these points to Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham on LBC tomorrow at 10am.


    • Craig Morecambe says:

      That’s another case of the internet breaking a highly significant angle on the story, which no-one at the BBC thought to investigate – with all their resources, their political units and legions of reporters.


    • hippiepooter says:

      Be sure to let us know if you got through!


    • John Anderson says:

      I have been listening all morning to LBC – I don’t think Andy Burnham showed up ?   I wonder why.


  10. Chairman of Selectors says:

    the bbc online story is an utter sham and a disgrace. Apparently the “UK Government is curtailing public spending, even though it promised to ringfence the NHS”.

    Seriously, this simply must be corrected. The student lefty MORONS who write this stuff simply can’t be left unchallenged. This is yet another BARE FACED LIE to suit the false BBC narrative. [for the record, replacing a poor service, with a better, more cost effective one does not constitute a cut, and gov spending is continuing to RISE you thick BBC IDIOTS]

    Has anyone asked for a correction on this by any chance?

    Also, in terms of length, I would estimate around 85% of the story is negative, hostile, or criticising the move.

    This is just getting scandalous and yet NOTHING can be done about it.


  11. Craig Morecambe says:

    Absolutely right:
    – 6 paragraphs of attack from Andy Burnham (who gets a block quote in the article for good measure)
    – 1 paragraph of attack  from Frank Dobson
    – 4 paragraphs of attack from Lord Prescott (plus a video)
    – 2 paragraphs of criticism from Dr Peter Carter of the RCN
    – 2 paragraphs of attack from Gail Adams of UNISON

    And just Mr Chapman from NHS Direct for the defence – and he gets a much shorter video than Prescott, especially given that quite a bit of his video clip is taken up by a question from the BBC presenter quoting an attack from John Prescott!!

    Where is the ‘Heath Department spokesman’ in this article? Sky found a ‘Health Department spokesman’ for its online article, so why not the BBC?


  12. 1327 says:

    Has anyone else here ever used NHS Direct ? Its just in my experience its bloody useless and consists of someone in a call centre reading out text from their web pages. Colleagues who have used it when their children have been ill have managed to get beyond the call centre employee but are then told the qualified nurses are all busy and they will be called back. But that call never comes.

    In many ways NHS Direct was nu-Labour appearing modern and dyanamic but in reality it was all bullsh*t.


    • davejanfitz says:

      it was bullsh*t for 13 yrs but the  x factor fodder voted them in….


      • David Jones says:

        “x factor fodder” – I like that! Encapsulates what’s wrong with the English. They after all voted for the traitor Blair; shallow little man.

        What is it? Five labour governments; five effective devaluations.

        To be fair it is difficult for each new generation of voters. They are brainwashed by their schools, universities, the MSM and the bBC. How would they know?


    • matthew rowe says:

      My better half phoned for an ambulance after falling ill and was directed to this bunch of pillocks who kept her on the phone for about 20 mins asking stupid questions  then said “er not sure best if you phone for an ambulance!”
      she was having a brain haemorrhage at the time so nothing dangerous or owt!!


  13. Martin says:

    It doesn’t matter what policies the Tories come up with, they could promote the whole of the Liebour party manifesto and the BBC would still attack them.

    As I’ve pointed out before why does a dog piss up a lamp post? Because it’s there, it’s a natural reaction, just as the BBC has to a Tory Government.

    If the Tories are such twats they can’t see that and do something about it and let’s be honest at the moment offering people any savings in the TV tax would be welcome, then the Tories deserve all they get.

    All that the Tories have to do is say that once the digital switchover is complete the BBC will become an opt in service, those who want the BBC services can pay for hem as part of their Sky/Virgin packages (like any other channels) or if you are on Freeview you will need a code to unscramble the signal, which will come if you buy a yearly subscription to the BBC.

    Problem solved.


  14. Guest Who says:

    This would, once, have been funny if it were not now so dangerous.

    The BBC basically identifies what it doesn’t like, and then deliberately rabble rouse to support their agenda.

    I can vote for my MP, but the BBC has had carte blanche to dictate policy via direct propagandistic broadcast access to the masses without any meaningful check for decades.

    Listening to some Beeboid interview ‘Lord help us’ Prescott was truly sickening, as the the interviewer pumped him up into a faux righteous lather with rigged ‘question’ after question until I though he might burst like Mr. Creosote.

    Ensure breakfast settled now…


    • Guest Who says:

      OldHoborn   RT @johnprescott: And we have over 6,000 signatures! Only 94,000 more until we get …laughed out of the Commons #savenhsdirect

      If that is the best wall-to-wall rallying by a national broadcast medium can manage, they will… should not be the only ones laughed out of credibility.

      Is really the BBC’s remit to be Lord help us Prescott’s PR department and recruitment tool?

      I dread to think how many ‘I work for the BBC, see, here and here and linked here, but my views are nothing to do with them’ twitter accounts are spreading the message to the faithful as we speak.


  15. Ron Todd says:

    When I had problems with a kidney I phoned my GP just after 5pm. I got a recorded message telling me to phone NHS direct. They told me I should come in to see them. I took a taxi down in agony, sat puking in the waiting room for an hour. Saw some junior doctor with poor English  for about two minutes who told me to see my GP as soon as I could and left me to make my own way home.


    • Sceptical Steve says:

      Ron, I think you’re confusing 2 issues.

      The last government allowed GPs to walk away from their previous out of hours obligations and these ofetn contracted out to specialist “Doctors on Call”/”Out of Hours” services. We’ve got used to this in Wakefield where, in an emergency, you make an appointment to go to a 24 hour clinic where you’re likely to be seen by a hospital doctor putting in a few extra hours for pin money. This isn’t anything to do with NHS Direct.

      I had the need to call NHS Direct about 6 years ago in the middle fo the night. I was in pain and very concerned that I had a DVT but was subjected to the usual bureaucratic screening (e.g they were unable to proceed to the next screen until they had received full answers to a range of apparently irrelevent questions, e.g “what was my Ethnic Origin”).

      Once we’d completed the dafter questions, they eventually suggested I might have a DVT, and needed to get seen urgently by a clinician. To be fair, at this point they suddenly became very good. They made an appointment for me to see the the appropriate department at Pinderfields Hospital and, half an hour later, I arrived at the A&E department to find that I was expected and and received prompt diagnosis.

      My wife worked briefly at the regional HQ of NHS Direct, shortly after it was founded. Over the Christmas period, she was horrified by the needless extravagence (including a £3,000 Christmas tree) and the dominace of the “Call Centre Culture”. However, the staff loved it because the mechanistic approach meant that they had no responsibility for anything, and the nurses got all the kudos and status of professional nurses, without actually having to get their hands dirty.

      That year. the management had given too many staff holidays over the Christmas period so the call centre was undermanned during the businest time of the year. To mask this, the operators were deliberately cutting off callers mid-call in order to answer the next call so that they could meet their call-handling targets.

      When you see how the system could work, you realise how badly we have been let down by NHS Direct. It was a glamorous Balairite initiative which, like so much of NuLab, it flattered to deceive and became a safe haven for lots of the Labour Party’s hangers-on.


      • Ronald Todd says:

        I am not in the least confussed. I know very well why my GP no longer gave coverage outside office hours. NHS direct was his alternative at the time.

        I did talk to him about it when I eventually got to see him at which point he got me into hospital.


      • 1327 says:

        Hi Steve – Around these parts it isn’t unknown the for GP’s out of hours service to try and shunt calls to NHS Direct. I get the feeling it all depends on what time you call and how busy they are.

        Interesting to have some inside info on NHS Direct thanks.


      • rightofcentre says:

        I`ve found that the best thing to do in Wakefield is ring the doctors on call direct, you will still be screened by a nurse or a doctor, but it is much quicker than messing about with NHS direct, you will then either get an appointment, or if suitable, a prescription for you to collect.


  16. Derek Buxton says:

    There is no “conservative party”, there are three socialist parties making up the majority of the toy parliament.  Someone above mentioned three politicians one of which was Charles Tannock, a fully paid up member of the EU loving gang, hater of all things English.


  17. Craig says:

    UPDATE The story continues…!!

    As bird-watchers might be tempted to say when some elusive birds prove particularly elusive, “The cheeky bustards!”…

    The BBC returned to the subject of NHS Direct this morning, and granted a ‘right to reply’ at last to the Coalition, in the form of Lib Dem health minister Paul Burstow. A right to reply at 7.12am on a Sunday morning!! Who, except me, the BBC and Mr Burstow, is up then?

    This is a clear case of Guest Who’s ‘watertight oversight’ – the way the BBC can claim, if challenged, to be unbiased because it gave the opposing side a chance – even though it buried it deep in the bowels of its website (e.g. in the Berkshire section) or at 7.12 on a Sunday morning!

    Still, just in case some people were up and watching, Clive and Naga read out “Yes, the government insists it’s not a cost-cutting measure but the critics say it could lead to an inferior service”.

    So the critics “say”, and the government, defensively, “insists”. Typical BBC terminology.

    Clive hammered away “This is all very confusing I reckon to a lot of people”, “it sounds like a call centre you’re talking about and that’s a fear a lot of people have”, “a lot of critics would point to that as being the case”.

    Mr Burstow was convincing in his replies, so the BBC wouldn’t be interested in reprising this interview.

    And, do you know, what? They didn’t!! Not a reprise, as happened with Prescott and (repeatedly) Burnham yesterday. Not a clip in a later report. Nothing.

    At 7.15am this morning, Mr Burstow and his defence of the government’s actions was quietly buried in an unmarked grave.

    Sometimes, it’s possible to say that the BBC’s left-wing bias is unconscious. This was clearly anything but unconscious. This was deliberate bias.


    • hippiepooter says:

      Is it really that difficult for No 10 to say that something has to be done about BBC bias?  They’re supposed to provide a non-partisan news service and they’re not?


      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        They cannot separate the biased News division from the orchestras and documentaries and costume dramas.  It’s too firmly entrenched in the psyche.