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:
Boris Johnson dropped into @WhippsCrossHosp for a press opportunity – so I gave him a piece of my mind about how he is running the NHS based on the experience with my 7 day old daughter, who was neglected for hours last night. More here: https://t.co/DsBDvnhC51 https://t.co/vKPs3yzNHx
— Omar Salem (@OmarSalem) September 18, 2019
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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