Saturday, 12 September 2015

BBC poll question on Welsh NHS breached code of conduct

Tucked away on BBC online is the news that the  polling company ICM breached the Market Research Society's (MRS) code of conduct in a health poll it conducted for BBC Wales.

The MRS said the wording of a question about cancer drugs funding led participants to a particular viewpoint.

Responding, ICM said the question was

 "entirely defensible and structured in exactly the same way as questions used by all polling companies all the time".
The complaint to the MRS was made by the Welsh government.
The MRS also determined that the procedure for agreeing questions was insufficient on this occasion.

The question used in the poll in January this year  was:

 "In England, NHS money is ring-fenced for the Cancer Drugs Fund. In Wales, funding for cancer drugs is treated in the same way as funding drugs for all other illnesses. Do you believe money for cancer should be protected?"
ICM director Martin Boon said the outcome of the investigation

 "raises questions as to the fitness and purpose of the MRS code of conduct in the context of public and political opinion polling, as the code makes no distinction between genuine concerns about question wording versus those driven by political motivation".

According to that poll almost half of the people in Wales believe the Welsh NHS performs just as well as the health service in England while another 15% think it performs better, a new poll suggests.

Almost 47% of people thought the performance of the Welsh NHS and English NHS is "more or less the same".
But 21% thought performance was worse in Wales, the ICM/BBC Wales poll found.

So you may think that the Welsh Government is being oversensitive on this but the State of the Welsh NHS was a major campaign point for the Tories in May with the NHS in Wales has been called "substandard" by ministers at Westminster over the last year.  in particular for choosing not to protect health spending to the same extent as in England and Scotland in the years following the last assembly election. 

Prime Minister David Cameron described after all Offa's Dyke as becoming "the line between life and death".

A Welsh government spokesman said:

 "We are pleased that this complaint has been upheld by the MRS.
"It is disappointing that ICM and BBC Wales dealt with a public policy issue of such sensitivity in the way this investigation finding has revealed."
A BBC Wales spokeswoman said:
 "We note the findings of the MRS relating to one question in a wider poll conducted by ICM on our behalf."
Unfortunately I have no knowledge  of when the controversial question was askedin the polls  but it was early then it may just have influenced subsequent answers.

What it shows how Polls and the interpenetration of them  can mislead or even influence the public .

1 comment:

  1. The BBC is nothing more than the establishments propaganda weapon pushing to privatise the NHS and other public services.