MSP ‘shocked’ after Reporting Scotland headlines ‘categorically untrue’ Health Board payout claim from Labour MSP

An SNP MSP has expressed her shock after BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme featured an allegation by a Labour MSP despite the Health Board describing it as “categorically untrue”.

Scottish Labour MSP Jenny Marra claimed NHS Tayside had awarded its former chief executive a payout of over £300,000.

Lesley McLay left the health board last week after going on sick leave in April, the day after being told she could no longer continue in the role.

Ms Marra told BBC Scotland: “I understand today that the golden handshake that Lesley McLay has received is over £300,000.”

However the Health Board immediately rubbished the claim.  A tweet said: “There have been reports in today’s media claiming that former NHS Tayside Chief Executive Lesley McLay received a payment. This is untrue and we have issued this statement.”

A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said, “The claims made about any sum of money received by Ms McLay are categorically untrue.

“As with any NHS Tayside employee, Ms McLay received what she was contractually entitled to and nothing more upon leaving the organisation.”

Despite the unequivocal statement from the Health Board, BBC Scotland continued to headline the allegation from the Labour MSP.

The story led news bulletins on Radio Scotand and was top story on the BBC Scotland news page.  It was also chosen as the lead item on the station’s flagship evening news programme Reporting Scotland.

Viewers saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon being quizzed on the Scottish Labour MSP’s claim.

Responding to BBC Scotland’s coverage, SNP MSP Jeane Freeman, who replaced Shona Robison as Health Secretary in June, revealed her shock at the decision by the broadcaster to continue to headline the Scottish Labour MSP’s claim.

In a message posted on social media, Ms Freeman said: “Just because @JennyMarra tells @BBCScotlandNews she “understands” Ms McLay rec’d £300k pay off doesn’t make it true.What is true is @NHSTayside stating categorically she did not get a pay off. I’m shocked BBC has continued to headline this claim online & on #ReportingScotland”

The criticism of BBC Scotland follows a row over the BBC’s targeting of two pro-independence bloggers.  The youtube accounts of Wings Over Scotland and Moridura were shut down after the broadcaster lodged multiple copyright complaints.  The episode has led to claims that the broadcaster is operating an anti-independence agenda.

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18 thoughts on “MSP ‘shocked’ after Reporting Scotland headlines ‘categorically untrue’ Health Board payout claim from Labour MSP

    1. Alistair Robertson

      Jeanne Freeman won’t stand for this treatment Kevin. I’m pretty sure of it. She’s a bullish character and will take no prisoners in rebuffing unfounded allegations in her area of responsibility. She’s a savvy operator too, who will soon find her way in oversight and direction of the NHS. I’m certain it’s one of the main reasons Nicola has appointed her into the role. Nicola was too slow to make a move that could have been painted as undermining Shona Robison who to be fair, did a good job as Health Minister, but lacked the edge needed to fight back on some of the ridiculous claims being made by opposing parties, supported by our ever friendly media. I’m sure that having a personality like Jeanne overseeing the SNHS, given that the BBC has been weaponising it through ‘crisis reporting’ for the last few years will pay dividends fairly soon and her response to this story today is just the first example of a new, combative approach that we’ll see much more of ahead.
      I just hope that others see the efficacy of the approach and it starts a sea-change in handling such issues within Scotgov.

  1. Peter Maddison

    If you don’t understand that Westminster and the Scottish controlled media are in fear of the Scottish people finally standing up in ever increasing numbers daily, then it’s time to move on. If like me you can take all of this in and chuckle at the sheer stupidity of their continued AND more to come nonsense then watch with me as the back of unionism breaks forevermore.

    They and we have been here before and they will continue with this until the final day when the nation of Scotland will unite as one and stand as a proud nation again. No longer will Scotland be followers by denial but the leaders as Scots are, just as history has in the past affirmed that fact and will continue to profess that fact well into the future.

  2. JK

    What’s the difference in pounds and pence between a ‘pay off’ and ‘received what she was contractually entitled to’? Discuss.

  3. George Trist

    So typical of the bbc in Scotland. It doesn’t matter if it’s a LIE enough people will see/hear and believe. We need an alternative and fast.

    1. Alistair Robertson

      Don’t think we need an alternative George, we just need control. There are so many areas where devolution has been withheld to perpetuate the union and we need to continue demanding, challenging and refuting what we are being told to keep these stories in the media and build support for control. Too many brainwashed, compliant no-voters who refuse or are unable to engage their brains out there by far, but an increasing number of the few that I’m in contact with are beginning to question their previous blind faith and are opening up to the true validity and potential of the independence scenario.

  4. JK

    I’d hold on the outrage for a bit. Is the package – the contractual obligation – £3,000 or not? I sense careful drafting in the choice of words.

    But if it is paying up ‘contractual obligstions’ for some unspecified period of time but allowing her to leave immediately without doing any work during that period of time it might not be unreasonable or inaccurate to describe that as a pay off.

    My beef is with the boarda and quangos and ALEO’s who agree such contracts that force them – us – to pay out eye-watering amounts of money without any transparency or accountability.

    1. Hugh

      The point is that the story should never have aired, there was no way for a journalist to find out whether this gossip was true or not. This is about someones redundancy package after all, it was never going to be confirmed so its nothing more than gossip.

      This could be libel but the health board would need to disclose the contract details in court and they cant do that. The labour scum bag and the BBC know this so they can get away with outright lying.

      Just another example of a british nationalist politician smearing the Scottish government and being aided by the BBC.

  5. Robert Graham

    JK while your thoughts are probably technically correct about this person’s contract , thats not the point ,and here is the but , the ones who dance about and play with words never get away with it for long , one example being the Scotland Act the insertion of two words ” NOT NORMALLY ” totally changed the meaning if not the whole spirit of the Act .

    Normal people’s perception changes when the smart ones perform these gymnastics, it makes the ones who believe they are all so very clever at duping the rest of us mugs , it makes them appear shifty ,slimy, not to be trusted again , the BBC along with the Labour & their friends the Tory party fit the bill perfectly , hence the totally misleading BBC headline .

    Probably half of Scots now will never believe anything on BBC scotland because they prove by their actions every single day they cant be trusted , they dont report news they manufacture it with one aim protect this rotten union its their only function .

  6. Contrary

    The point is that the BBC continued to broadcast and publish a claim, made by one person, that had already been stated as a complete fabrication by the officials in charge of the dismissal. The actual amount of money, we don’t know (except that it is NOT £300K), and only might have been relevant if a journalist had actually gone out of their way to find out. It is a storm in a tea cup, caused by the BBC to cause outrage and distress to all parties.

    Why take an individual’s unverifiable opinion on a matter, rather than an official statement? WHY would you do that? The BBC are effectively claiming that the NHS is lying. Without any proof, or motive. It is a barefaced attack on the NHS – and it sounds like there is enough of a mismanagement scandal to be going along with, let alone then just making things up for the sake of it – for their goals of:

    (A) rubbishing the Scottish government
    (B) driving opinion towards the privatisation of the NHS, just like what is happening in England, and will happen here if Scotland doesn’t get its independence (soon) (’emergency powers’ to the uk government will be their complete take-over and sell-out of Scotland). Trying to make the NHS sound untrustworthy.

    The BBC are ridiculously and inordinately vicious towards the Scottish NHS (without mentioning how bad things are in England and Wales), whilst a Public Health Service is an amazing thing to have, the civilised thing to have. Yes, you want to make sure it is well run and no fraud is taking place, but to just make things up, and distort statistics, and waste their time with FOI requests instead of reading reports? The BBC are at it. Why keep attacking an institution that at its heart is bearing up against the strain of austerity?

    A bit of a rant, and sorry about that, but the way the BBC distort nearly everything NHS Scotland is unfathomable, and silence (by not reporting) official statements and reports is unforgivable.

  7. Geoff Lamb

    What more do you expect from the British Biast corporation all news from Scotland both good and bad will be reported as bad bad SNP for allowing it to happen

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