NHS body defends ‘media watch’

West Yorkshire NHS Strategic Health Authority has hit back at criticism over its media-monitoring scheme.

Details of the programme, which evaluates coverage from 250 journalists, were passed to The Yorkshire Post last week.

The alleged £17,500 cost has led to accusations of an 'obsession with spin' from Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs.

However, the authority dismissed the allegations and said it was committed to ensuring the public understood the processes to improve the NHS.

'Media evaluation highlights good practice and helps us consider the areas of the NHS that may require further action,' said a spokesman.
He added that evaluation also helped identify where the SHA might have to tackle negative coverage.

The story breaks just a month after the Department of Health revealed its own research into coverage by individual journalists. It said the report published on its website was part of its commitment to the Freedom of Information Act and denied it was using the system to ostracise certain journalists (PRWeek, 2 September).

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