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Midwife wins complaint against daily over ‘punishment’ claim

NewIPSOThe press watchdog has rapped a regional daily for reporting that a midwife had “escaped punishment” for an error she had made.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has found against the Liverpool Echo following a complaint by Ellen Burke about its coverage of a hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council into allegations against her.

Ms Burke had accepted a charge of making an incorrect entry but complained to IPSO after complaining about the Echo’s claim she had “avoided punishment” following her admission.

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Ms Burke said she had not “escape[d]” punishment or sanction because the NMC had accepted that her actions were not fraudulent and that she had merely made a digital error.

In response, the Echo said it was not inaccurate or misleading to report that Ms Burke escaped punishment or sanction because her error had been investigated by the NMC.

The Echo added she accepted she had made an error, and the story made clear the NMC’s decision and the reasoning behind its decision.

In an attempt to resolve the complaint, the Echo publishes a clarification, but this resolution was rejected by Ms Burke.

In its ruling, IPSO considered that the Echo implied that the complainant had acted dishonestly by the reference to her “escaping” sanction or punishment when, in fact, this did not reflect the approach to the matter which had been adopted by the NMC.

The complaint was upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.