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Complainant Name:
Ms Ratna Singh

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Guardian

Complaint:

Ms Ratna Singh of IHP Clinics complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article about the government's health service reforms contained a number of inaccuracies: contrary to the headline, it was IHP - in which GPs could own shares - and not the surgeries themselves which would float on the stock market; the article had exaggerated the potential windfall to individual GPs, which was 160,000 after three to five years and not 1m; and the implication of the article was that patient care could be compromised by IHP, when in fact its focus was on improving care, with the majority of savings being reinvested.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper updated the headline of the online version of the article to refer to "GP funds" - rather than surgeries - floating on the stock market, and amended the text to clarify that, over time, individual GPs could obtain a windfall of up to 160,000. It recorded both these changes in a footnote to the article. In addition, the newspaper published an online letter of response written by the complainant, the text of which is as follows:

Your article about the government's health service reforms (NHS reform could see GP funds floated on stock market, 2 March 2011) implied that patient care could be compromised in order to create savings, which would be banked as profits for GPs and IHP. In fact, IHP's focus is on improving care, with the majority of performance indicators explicitly linked to improved clinical outcomes. The majority of savings will be reinvested in facilities, services and care for patients. A small slice of those savings will go to GPs and other providers as reward for good performance and for the overspend risk they took. There is nothing wrong with incentives. Indeed, a myriad of incentives for GPs are currently supported by the PCTs. GPs are not greedy, self-serving individuals, but some of the most committed, hardworking and respected people in this country.

Date Published: 30/11/2011



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