Comment: A lesson Suffolk County Council needs to learn

OUR treasured county of Suffolk has in recent days witnessed major clangers by big institutions.

Ipswich Hospital – which performs a vital service to the people of the county – was caught out when it sent a seriously ill patient, on a transfer to London, by taxi.

Suffolk County Council – leading authority in our county – was caught out and left red-faced when it issued a ban against The Evening Star’s reporter, Paul Geater, for simply telling the truth.

What is remarkable is the different approach taken by the bodies once the blunders were uncovered.

Ipswich Hospital, which deals with thousands of people and saves lives every day of the week, held its hands up – immediately admitted its error and apologised.

Suffolk County Council, which didn’t like the “tone” of Paul Geater’s story detailing the more than �12,000 spent on training for �218,000 chief executive Andrea Hill, promptly said it wouldn’t give him any comment on any stories to do with the authority.

Three days later it back-tracked and said the ban hadn’t ever existed – and wasn’t in place.

Most Read

Admission and apology from one, smokescreen and denial from the other.

Today we applaud Ipswich Hospital chief executive, Andrew Reed, for his apology to Wendy Weeding, 47, of Hintlesham, for what was indeed a sorry saga.

Lessons will be learned, he pledges, and we believe in the hospital’s promise of change of procedure.

But what of the council which banned Paul Geater and then pretended the sanction had never existed?

Not one word of apology or contrition.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke has even turned down an offer to meet our writer, to discover first-hand how the ban was imposed and to see the detailed notes of the conversation in which it was installed.

What a pity the county council has missed its opportunities to say sorry for its error.

In issues like this, the county is putting up not only blinkers – it is placing a barrier between the public and the important messages it is trying to get across.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter