The College of Paramedics has written a scathing letter to the editorial team at BBC North West, following what it called a ‘misleading heading’ used in a post on Twitter that referred to the actions of the first paramedic who arrived on the scene of the devastating attack at the Manchester Arena.
In the letter (see below) Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics, said that they were ‘appalled at the misleading heading’ that BBC North West used.
The open letter said:
‘As the representatives of the paramedic profession in the UK, the College of Paramedics is appalled at the misleading headline used by BBC North West in its ‘tweet’ about the actions of the first paramedic on scene at the Manchester Arena.
‘This social media post stated that ‘a paramedic first on scene of the Manchester Arena bombing did not give treatment to casualties…’.
‘In our view this statement demonstrates an eagerness for a sensational headline before gathering the relevant information.
‘Standard and well-established practice in ambulance services on the declaration of a major incident requires the first paramedic or technician on [the] scene to resist all the natural human responses to begin treatment and to instead, assess the scene and begin triaging casualties, to attempt to save as many lives as possible.
‘This has come from learning from too many incidents that have gone before and can be found in such publications from the London Assembly or from the Hillsborough Report.
‘The BBC North West report completely fails to acknowledge UK ambulance services’ major incident protocol, resulting in their failure to provide the public with a balanced report.
‘Their inability to recognise and include all relevant facts leaves the public with the impression that the paramedics and other emergency ambulance personnel on scene in Manchester had little regard for human life and suffering.
‘Nothing could be further from the truth.
‘The safety, well-being, and recovery of all casualties is always the top priority for the emergency responders, who like everyone else involved, have experienced enormous and long-lasting mental stress for the incident.
‘Perhaps it may have been of some interest to the news team to know that male paramedics have the second highest suicide rate in the NHS. This may cause some reflection on the intolerable harm that can be caused with a sensationalized headline, with clickbait being its sole purpose.
‘In our view, this report, completely fails to provide a balanced account to anyone who reads it.
‘Whilst we see that there has been a change in the headline of the story, the BBC North West team have not yet issued a much-needed apology for the inevitable suffering that they may have caused Mr Ennis and his family.
‘The role he played on that fateful day and his giving of evidence at the current inquiry will have been difficult enough, without the addition of a misleading and detrimental headline from a news agency such as the BBC.
‘We look forward to hearing from their representative in due course.
‘Tracy Nicholls FCPara Chief Executive’
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