A journalist writing for the Daily Mail has been put firmly in her place after she tried fishing for case studies on Mumsnet:
"I am writing a feature for The Daily Mail about the increase in the number of children being sent to A&E. Figures released earlier this week show an increasing number of youngsters are sent direct to hospital, because GPs are reluctant to treat children. Babies in particular. This means long waits, and inappropriate care. Has your child been sent to A&E with a common infection or minor injury by your GP or NHS Direct? Have you an opinion on this subject..."
The first respondent on MumsNet was quick to make a very good point:
"Your paper is always running articles about how GPs sent children home when in fact it was meningitis / cancer / other dangerous illnesses. I imagine this is just another NHS bashing article where pretty much no-one can win whatever they do?"
She's not wrong. Over the past few years the Daily Mail has run dozens of articles criticising GPs for failing to spot a serious condition in a child which may have been identified if the child had been sent to hospital. Normally such articles are fiercely critical of GPs for not taking the parents' concerns seriously or wrongly dismissing something as the kind of "common infection or minor injury" that the Mail now seems to think is being taken too seriously by GPs.
A second Mumsnetter waded in:
"If GPs recognise their limitations and want a child to be checked out by A&E because they're not sure if a headache is just a headache or meningitis, then that could save a child's life, and that has to be worth it. Or do you honestly think doctors should risk children's lives?"
While another added:
"If you write the story I hope some poor GP who's dithering about sending a child to A&E doesn't decide not to for fear of being castigated and I hope that child doesn't then die... Do Daily Mail journalists think about the implications of their "stories"?"
Summing up much of the angry reaction to this request, another Mumsnetter wrote:
"I'm sick to death of seeing NHS bashing crap in the Daily Mail."
Before another added the understatement of the day:
"Not sure these are the answers she's looking for..."