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Health withholding key performance report due to media mistrust

Health withholding key performance report due to media mistrust

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Health withholding key performance report due to media mistrust

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Jersey’s Health Department says it won’t publish a key report on its performance over concerns about “sensational” media reporting.

The department’s top officials said they fear media coverage of their 'full performance report' - which its head describes as a "naked" account of the department - could inhibit patients from seeking help.

While noting that the government’s aim was “transparency”, and that there was an “ongoing conversation” about releasing the report publicly, Health Director General Caroline Landon said during a Public Accounts Committee hearing this week that she thought information in the document might be “presented in a way that is sensationalised.”

Equally, when quizzed on why the document was not made publicly available, as is common practice in other jurisdictions, Group Medical Director, Rob Sainsbury claimed that media reports about the department's performance could potentially put people off using Jersey’s health services.


Pictured: Group Medical Director Caroline Landon said that it was sometimes difficult when the department was being treated like a "football."

“I think that would be really challenging in Jersey because there is a real sensitivity because it’s small,” he said.

He accused the media of having reported mental health unit admissions and suicides "in a very sensational way", adding: "...The way that they’re interpreted can really impact on people in terms of how you want to promote your services.

“If you hear about a negative impact continuously for your service, and then that stops somebody seeking help, and seeking support, that can be really counterproductive.”

He added that he felt other jurisdictions wouldn’t report on subjects the way that the island's media outlets report on them either.

“It feels that that information isn’t always appropriately and proportionately then interpreted, it becomes a frontline headline that you just would not see in other jurisdictions,” he remarked. 

He singled out “blood contamination headlines” as one of the subject areas reported on over the last three years that he felt "would be handled in a different way" elsewhere.


Pictured: Mr Sainsbury singled out "blood contamination" as an area he felt had been particularly sensationalised in headlines.

Director of Improvement Dr Anuschka Muller also noted that if there are “very small numbers” of particular cases, it could risk making patients identifiable.

However, Ms Landon tried to assure the panel that, despite not releasing the document as is common practice across the UK, that they still wanted to be transparent.

She said: “This is not us trying to hide our performance, but this is us trying to support our staff to deliver better performance for our patients, and sometimes in Jersey that’s difficult because it’s sensationalised.

“I understand it from other service providers, but we provide health, we’re different to IHE… I’m not trying to say that we’re special, but we’re not delivering roads, we’re delivering care.” 

She added that it was “sometimes difficult” for the department when they were treated as what she described as “a bit of a football.”

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Posted by Lesley Ricketts on
The public have a right to know what is contained in this report. Using the media as a scapegoat is disingenuous. These are the tactics used by totalitarian regimes. Welcome to the undemocratic Republic of Jersey.
Posted by Ted 3Please on
Oh dear, another shocker. Does not the Government have a professional communications team? Their job, presumably, is to work with departments to ensure effective communication on all manner of issues. On this for example, the report must be made public but the comms team should get ahead of the story to provide the narrative to media and, if necessary, be prepared to rebut sensationalist coverage as necessary. This hapless explanation for not publishing it is akin to using petroleum to douse the flames of a fire.
Posted by Guy de Faye on
As a former Chairman of the Channel Island Branch of the National Union of Journalists I can confidently assure the "literary lightweights" at the Health Department that insulting the entire local media will almost certainly result in an extended period of unrelenting and wide ranging scrutiny.

Frankly, the only really sensational news likely to emerge from the most expensive and dysfunctional department in the "Government of Jersey" would be that it has - finally - become efficient.

I was a member of the Council of Ministers when Health had to apologise for "forgetting" to include their IT in the annual budget, followed by a request for an additional £12.5 Million. This was allowed, only to be followed by a similar £12 Million+ request a few years later. Since then, I believe another, roughly £25 Million has been allocated to Health IT and there appears no end in sight.

I will simply mention the "Our New Hospital" completion and design disaster in passing, to again remind B'Express readers of the disgracefully bungled "Alwitry Employment Contract Fiasco", where the damages claim, initiated by Health HR failure, now exceeds £8 Million.

I strongly advise these imported "Health Executives" to knuckle down to their jobs and give up on trying to be PR professionals. If you do not want sensational stories appearing in our local media then stop providing the "ammunition"!!
Posted by Danny Moisan on
I smell something! I'm not sure what it is but there is definitely a whiff in the air!
Posted by Martin on
For the sake of accuracy - I strongly suggest that the Freedom Of Information "LAW" is altered to the Freedom of Information " If you feel like it" - Policy?

It is not a law if anyone can seemingly breach it with impunity?

SURELY non disclosure under these specific circs ( Fear of being sensationalised) does NOT fit any of the LEGAL caveats for non disclosure & therefore - in addition to the public being kept in the dark AGAIN - an offence is also revealed!

This matter should be taken to task, ( AG -Police -DPC?) & if not - then sCrap the FOI law and the associated department, as clearly no one needs to tell the truth & AGREED it IS insulting AGAIN to be denied the facts = HOW long since Charlie Midas Parker,s contract details winged their way into the industrial shredder?

Caroline Landon may consider her department to being treated like a football well the public are being treated like a door mat where you wipe the XXXT from your feet! (
Posted by John Henwood on
"Group Medical Director, Rob Sainsbury claimed that media reports about the department's performance could potentially put people off using Jersey’s health services." Where else are people going to go Mr. Sainsbury? The Health Department has a local 'exclusive' on both public and private care. This is anyway a disgraceful admission and indicates there are serious shortcomings exposed in the Report. No more cover ups please - executives may be bomb-proof as far as accountability is concerned, but their political masters are not and the reckoning is less than a year away now. So, be a big man Health Minister Renouf and publish - or be damned.
Posted by Harry Helier on
Stifling media scrutiny belongs in North Korea, not Jersey.
Posted by Davey West on
And they call children entitled these days, hey world, take a look at Jerseys' Hospital Executives trying to bury reports then tell the elected Public Accounts Committee that they want to be transparent. The same Government department that has spent ( for spent read lost ) almost £40 million on their first efforts regarding a new hospital that did not get planning permission. Any sackings or resignations. Nope !
Posted by Tom Kearns on
How the hell is it possible for a democratically elected parliament to censor and withhold a report of such importance. The truth is, the report will be shocking because for such a well off crown dependency the services offered to islanders are an absolute disgrace. From a family that are dealing with a suicide under the care of mental health How dare he comment on sensationalism, it's the truth very dark days when a parliament censors reports. Shame on the states
Posted by Theresa Mcghee on
"Could Potentially put people off using
The health service"
There is a waiting time of thirteen. Months for some of the services,
Years for the dental services.
It is out in the open so why not publish?
Posted by Donal Dolo on
it will come out eventually dont hide nothing what goes around comes around
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