Kate and Gerry McCann take Department of Health pressure too far

Dr Peter Brambleby blows the whistle on political pressure on doctors

Thomas Moore, Health correspondent

Sky News has uncovered evidence that NHS staff are coming under political pressure to spin the headlines.

We have obtained a letter, written by a senior representative of the Department of Health, which strongly criticises England's largest primary care trust for failing to "manage" the media.

"This has resulted in damage to the reputation of the NHS. The PCT needs to look at how the media messages can be managed more effectively... to stem the national harm to the NHS profile that this constant publicity is creating."

But Dr Peter Brambleby, the director of public health for the PCT, is so angry about the letter that he has blown the whistle.

Speaking exclusively to Sky News, he said: "It is our general responsibility to protect the NHS brand, but we shouldn't be driven as a first consideration by what will this look like in the headlines in the local newspaper.

"Our first consideration has to be the health of the population, the evidence base behind which the decision is going to be made, and showing that we're responsible stewards of public funds. That's our job and that's what protects the NHS brand."
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