The BBC has refused to address a complaint dubbed ‘Broken Ankle Man’ for a third successive time, claiming it “does not comply with the BBC Framework and Procedures”.
The corporation has also threatened to end all correspondence relating to the complaint if it is submitted in a similar manner again.
The complaint relates to a major news story that appeared across BBC Scotland platforms on January 9th this year. Coverage centred on a man who had apparently broken his ankle and had endured an extensive delay before receiving the required treatment at his local A&E department. The story dominated BBC Scotland radio, online and TV coverage.
However doubts began to be expressed as to the veracity of the claims being made and whether any alleged delay was in fact a result of his own refusal to remain in A&E. A complaint was submitted to the BBC two days later.
The BBC refused to accept the complaint, insisting it required to be submitted either via its online complaints form or in writing. The complainant submitted it a second time, this time in the form of an email. However that too was deemed not to be admissable.
The third attempt saw the complaint submitted via the BBC online complaint form. An automatic acknowledgement confirmed receipt. Eight days later on February 10th the complainant was informed the complaint had been referred to the relevant people.
However five days later the BBC sent the following message: “As was explained in a message sent to you on Friday 2nd February, the way in which you have been submitting this complaint does not comply with the BBC Framework and Procedures. You have resubmitted your complaint again without taking account of what was said to you in that message.
“Unless you resubmit your points in compliance with any one of the ways made available to licence fee payers to complain or comment, the BBC will regard this correspondence as closed.”
In a statement to Indyref2, the complainant said: “The BBC appear not to want to address this complaint. It has been submitted three times and each time they have contrived to find a way not to address it.
“This third time is the most bizarre. Despite submitting the complaint via their own online form, they insist I have not complied with procedure. There was no message on February 2nd informing me the complaint did not comply with their procedures.
“I have though stripped out links to youtube clips of their own broadcasts in case that was the issue.”
The BBC has confirmed receipt of the third attempt. If acceptable, a response should be issued by the editor of Reporting Scotland within ten working days.
Below is the third complaint in full:
This complaint is the *third* attempt to have this issue addressed.
On January 9th Reporting Scotland broadcast items featuring someone called Allan Browne. The impression given by the items was that Allan Browne had been told by qualified hospital staff that his ankle had not been broken and that he would probably not be seen for 8 hours.
This information had apparently persuaded Browne that he did not need urgent treatment. Only after hobbling in pain for a week did he realise that his ankle may in fact be worse than he was told. The impression was misleading. Not broadcast on Reporting Scotland was the *real* reason Browne was not treated when first attending A&E.
Good Morning Scotland [GMS] earlier that day broadcast the *full* interview. We heard Browne claim to have spoken to a hospital receptionist who he alleges told him he may have to wait up to eight hours to be seen. He also claimed this same receptionist told him his ankle most probably wasn’t broken. This, we were invited to believe, was why he decided not to seek treatment. We also learned that Browne waited two whole days after his slip before even going to A&E.
In both TV items, viewers were told Browne first attended A&E on Boxing Day. However in the uncut GMS radio broadcast Browne can be heard very clearly saying he slipped two days earlier on Christmas Eve. The decision by Reporting Scotland to edit the interview meant viewers were denied the opportunity to judge whether Browne or his local hospital were responsible for the delay to his treatment.
It is of course normal practice to truncate interviews due to time constraints, but not when by truncating them you present a wholly distorted version of the truth. Indeed, when all of the facts of this story emerge, it can be seen that Allan Browne received timely treatment when he attended A&E and stayed. He was even seen within the target 4 hours.
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