Reviews Press

Shaken and stirred?

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 23 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1513
  1. Rebecca Coombes, freelance journalist (
  1. London

    How did the headlines come to overstate the case about doctors with addictions?

    Last week the BBC aired a television programme that contained evidence of a problem with drink and drug misuse among doctors in the United Kingdom. The pre-publicity for the programme, Your Life in Their Boozy Hands—part of the Real Story series, a primetime vehicle for newsreader Fiona Bruce—had done its job effectively and garnered headlines on the same day from several national newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail

    All the papers had picked out a line in the third paragraph of the BBC press release, stating: “The BMA says that one in 15 doctors are addicted to alcohol and, or, drugs.” The Daily Mail added that “the BMA estimates that 13 000 doctors have drink and …

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