Department of Health to speed up responses to media and Full Fact

9 September 2015 | Full Fact Team

The Department of Health has revealed it will introduce new measures "to enable our Media Centre to respond rapidly to queries from the media and from organisations such as Full Fact concerning the source of facts in ministerial speeches". An internal 'data document’ will provide press officers with links to sources for each factual claim made in a speech, as well as contact details for the official or analyst who provided the information.

This should mean that if a claim can’t be quickly substantiated it won’t make it into a speech.

The Department has emphasised that it already factchecks figures that go into speeches. This development means that journalists and members of the public will be able to double check them.

It comes in response to an intervention by the UK Statistics Authority regarding an unsubstantiated claim from Jeremy Hunt.

He claimed that 'around 6,000 people lose their lives every year because we do not have a proper 7-day service in hospitals'. At the time the source was unpublished. We referred the case to the Authority on the grounds that the public should be able to interrogate claims made by ministers.

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