No wonder Laura Kuenssberg isn’t calling out the latest critic of Johnson’s ‘staged’ NHS stunt

Boris Johnson and Laura Kuenssberg
Tracy Keeling

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg stood accused of ‘inciting’ a pile-on after she revealed the identity and political leaning of a man who confronted Boris Johnson over the NHS. Funnily enough, though, she hasn’t called out the latest critic of Johnson’s “staged” stunt.

“Telling the truth”

During a visit to Whipps Cross hospital, Omar Salem confronted the PM over the funding and staffing crisis in the NHS:

 

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Salem, whose baby daughter was admitted to the hospital, told Johnson that “the NHS is being destroyed”. Now, a doctor at the hospital has come forward to publicly back up the father’s account. The doctor, who is not named, told the Guardian that Johnson’s visit:

was a highly staged press event in a newly refurbished hospital ward at Whipps Cross hospital where the prime minister met a few select members of staff and patients. This event completely brushed over the harsh realities of this chronically underfunded, understaffed and poorly resourced hospital.

Regarding Salem, the doctor commented:

I’m so glad that Omar Salem said the things he did. He was just telling the truth about what it is like to be on the receiving end of poor staffing levels and under-resourcing.

The NHS professional also spoke about the consequences of underfunding in regards to patient care. They described the lack of adequate equipment; the delays to diagnoses and discharges due to people waiting for scans; patients who are fit for discharge remaining in hospital for weeks as they wait for “social services to kick in”; and the “disservice” this doctor feels they are doing to patients due to these limitations. The doctor ended by saying:

I love medicine, but you just can’t do your job properly. You don’t have time to talk to patients or families. Everybody is really demoralised. There’s no point in complaining because you know nothing will be done.

This is just what the NHS is like now.

Message vs messenger

Kuenssberg’s response to Salem’s claims about the NHS was to question the messenger, not look into the message. And mainstream commentators haven’t been shy about criticising those who’ve criticised her for doing so. But now, a doctor with intimate knowledge of the hospital has come forward to back up and advance those claims by the self-professed “Labour activist” Salem.

Without the politically partisan baggage, that should give Kuenssberg ample space to focus on the message instead then. But so far, she’s not busily tweeting about the doctor’s first-hand account. It will come, though, right? After all, she is a top editor at our supposedly “impartial” public broadcaster.

Featured image via BBC News/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Journalism: Given that Mr Salem is a Labour activist, it is possible that his claim is politically motivated. Therefore, verify if his claim are true and REPORT on it (and they were).

      Pro government propaganda: Say Mr Salem is a labour activist, adding nothing to it, I a way to cast a doubt on the veracity of his claim.

    2. Not sure about the above but clearly, reporting all the salient facts are the basis of unbiased journalism, therefore, as long as it is reported what the chap said, what was responded and the relative backgrounds, which are publicly available (Mr Salem publicly proclaimed everything that Kuennsberg further reported), there is no reason for the outrage against Kuennsberg or Salem. She merely did her job, he made a complaint as a father against the PM but that HAS to be balanced with the fact he is a Labour activist. The PM can only do what a PM can do in that circumstance, listen to his complaints, as that is how he can learn what is going on. Easy to criticise politicians for not listening, stupid to criticise them for actually doing so. Even more stupid to criticise an opposition activist for raising the point vehemently. What is really, really stupid is to criticise a journalist for doing their job and reporting all the facts without bias…..

    3. @Clarky

      Laura the tory, famed impartial ‘journalist’ as she’s proven herself to be time and again, rather spectacularly failed to mention the wholly relevant completing detail that bozo is an ardent tory activist whose sole purpose in attendence for photo op was that very activism.

      . . and also that she too is a tory activist.

    4. Also, has anyone else seen a press release from the hospital, or NHS Trust, refuting the allegations made by the father?

      The hospital has gone suspiciously quiet. That is damning in itself.

      1. Alan Gurney, chief executive of Whipps Cross hospital, apologised for the care given to Mr Salem’s seven-day-old daughter.

        He said: “We are constantly reviewing staffing levels on our wards to ensure our patients are safe at all times, but occasionally – as in fact happened on this ward last night – an unexpected emergency in one part of the hospital can cause a temporary pressure elsewhere.”

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