Clauses Noted: 1
Publication: News & Star (Carlisle)
Dr Neil Goodwin, Interim Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, complained to the Press Complaints Commission under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice about two articles which reported on the tendering process for a takeover of the Trust. The complainant was concerned that readers would have been misled as to the merits of the losing bid (an alliance of Cumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne), and as to whether or the Alliance had subsequently been asked to remain in the process as reserves.
While the newspapers did not accept that they had breached the terms of the Code, the matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following letters:
News & Star
Your article of 2 February, which reported on the decision of North Cumbria NHS Trust to recommend Northumbria Healthcare as the preferred bidder in its acquisition process, appeared with the headline ‘Look what you've lost', a reference to the rejected Alliance (Cumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne) bid. It should be emphasised that, rather than members of the public ‘losing out', in comparison with the Northumbria proposal , the Alliance bid required almost £30m more financial support over the first five years and after this period additionally required over £13m a year, with no time limit identified in order to break even. The Northumbria tender required no further financial support after two years.
Dr Neil Goodwin, Interim Chief Executive, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
Your article of 3 February reported that, although North Cumbria NHS Trust had announced that it would be recommending Northumbria Healthcare as the preferred bidder in its acquisition process, it was ‘understood that the Cumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne Alliance were asked to remain in the process in reserve, but had declined'. The extent of the gap between the two bidders across all aspects of the evaluation was carefully considered by the Board, with the conclusion that it would be very difficult for the Alliance to improve its bid to the extent required to overtake the Northumbria bid. For this reason the Trust Board did not identify a ‘reserve bid' and this was not offered to the Alliance.Dr Neil Goodwin, Interim Chief Executive, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust
Date Published: 27/07/2012
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