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Complainant Name:
Mr Graham Barker

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Times


Mr Graham Barker complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article -commenting on suicide rates in the Hebden Bridge area - had posed the question 'So why does picture-postcard Hebden Bridge have one of the highest suicide rates in England?' He said that this was inaccurate, as there was no statistical evidence to support the contention that suicide rates in the area were so high. Although the article had referred to the statistics for Hebden Bridge's local authority, Calderdale, Mr Barker pointed out that the most recent statistics did not show the suicide rate in Calderdale to be significantly higher than the national average, and that in any event, statistics for the wider local authority could not provide an indication of the situation in Hebden Bridge specifically.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC helped to negotiate the addition of the following correction to the online article:

Correction: At the time of writing, the most recent NHS figures on mortality rates from suicide and undetermined injury available to the author of this article supported his statement that Calderdale, Hebden Bridge's local authority, had a rate over 50 percent higher than the national average. However, more recent figures show that Calderdale's rate is now only 11 percent higher. Our headline also referred to Hebden Bridge as having one of the highest suicide rates in England. Hebden Bridge is of course just one part of the Calderdale area, and we have been asked to point out that figures from Calderdale's Director for Public Health indicate that the suicide rate for Hebden Bridge specifically is below the Calderdale average, and that neither now appears to be statistically significantly different from the national average. We are happy to set the record straight.

Date Published: 18/05/2010

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