Selective data and BBC journalism

Posted 24/8/2023 by Alasdair Spinner

I almost choked on my coffee this morning reading this article by Nick Triggle, one of the BBC’s Health correspondents.



Over the last 10 years, its no longer controversial to say that the BBC’s coverage of the issues around Scottish Independence, the Brexit debacle and UK political corruption has led to its reputation as a trusted news organisation take a nose dive faster and steeper than Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private jet.



One reason this is important is the BBC is a state broadcaster. We like to think some of its journalists can do some basic journalism though instead of simply regurgitating ad nauseam PR lines fed to them by organisations. After all, consumers of the corporation pay for its journalism via the licence fee tax. 


However, in this article today about global medical consultant salaries, Triggle parrots the line from the Nuffield Trust stating that data for some countries such as Australia was not available!


This is simply not true.


All the Australian data for public hospital and health services wages and applicable allowances is available online.Every day I speak to Medical Consultants from all around the world about this data. I talk to them through Australian remuneration packages. Admittedly, it isn’t straightforward because each state and territory has their own separate wage agreements, benefits and entitlements. This explains why a specialist in Sydney gets paid differently than a colleague does in Perth and why additional allowances like professional development allowances vary. I refer to these agreements and the salary bands literally every day.


Queensland wage agreements - 1 of 5 on my desk

Pic: 1 of 5 Australian wage agreements on my desk currently.



On the Nuffield Trust website it states it is “an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research”.

Sadly, on the basis of Triggle's article their research skills could do with some basic upskilling. I can’t claim to understand why Nuffield decided not to include the Aussie figures but why can't Triggle do his job? 



Surely a medical/healthcare journalist worth his or her salt would read the statement “Data was not available for some countries such as Australia..” and conclude: " this can’t be true,  I’ll jump online and do my own research " (god forbid) OR call someone who may know OR jump online to my website to find out. All Triggle does is repeat the Nuffield line without question. Why?


Either the BBC Health Correspondent 


  1. Believes everything the Nuffield Trust tells him without question or 
  2. Doesn’t know how to use google or 
  3.  Is too lazy to find this information for himself or 
  4. British Broadcasting Corporation employee Triggle knows what the figures are, yet is choosing not to publish them on the day English based Consultants are striking.


Journalists if you are interested in consultant salaries in Australia you can ring me on 07414531583 or email or or you can direct your privately schooled, Oxford educated intern to my website


Spinner Medical Recruitment is a leading, family owned medical recruitment agency specialising in the sourcing and recruitment of medical specialist from all around the world to hospitals and health services in Australia. 


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