Ashutosh Jain complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Under fire consultant Ashutosh Jain leaves UHMBT”, published on 24th February 2021. 

IPSO partially upheld this complaint under Clause 1 and has required to publish this decision as a remedy to the breach.  

The article reported that Mr Jain had recently left his position at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT). It said that “[c]oroners ruled clinical errors made by Mr Jain and former colleagues… contributed to the deaths of two patients” and that “[h]is errors were ruled to have played a part in the deaths” of two patients. It also reported that UHMBT had “apologised to families and patients affected by mistakes made by the three doctors”.  

The complainant said that the article was inaccurate as no official inquiry, authority, or coroner had criticised him or found him responsible for failures in patient care or contributing to patient deaths. The coroner’s reports that related to the deaths of the two patients did not identify any doctor as being responsible for their deaths. He also complained that the article suggested that UHMBT had named him as having made mistakes; the hospital statement had made no reference to any individual doctors. 

IPSO found that the newspaper had failed to take sufficient care over the presentation of the coroners’ findings; it considered that the article had given the inaccurate impression that the coroner had named the complainant as having contributed to the deaths of the two patients; the complainant had not been named by the coroner. Further, the newspaper’s description of the hospital’s apology suggested that it had identified the complainant; in fact, the hospital’s statement did not name any individuals as having made “mistakes”. The article was therefore significantly misleading regarding the coroners’ verdicts and the hospital’s statement. The publication had made no offer to correct this misleading impression and had therefore breached Clause 1 (i) and Clause 1 (ii) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.