THE BBC has come under fire for falsely reporting that an NHS Trust boss had contacted them with concerns on the provision of gowns for staff.

The organisation had yesterday claimed that a director in southern England had contacted them to enquire about the factory phone number for Burberry, which has begun producing PPE for healthcare staff.

However, it has since issued a correction on its website, stating that the person in question was in fact part of a "network of organisations helping to source" PPE for some NHS Trusts.

BBC's business reporter Simon Browning had originally reported that the man, who wished to remain anonymous, had made a phone call to the broadcaster requesting the factory's number as his staff were running out of gowns for the weekend ahead. 

It was then broadcast as the lead headline on various outouts, including Radio 4's Today programme.

The "director" had said: "The official line that we don't have a shortage of PPE is fantasy," adding: "Trusts are already decontaminating PPE for reuse. I have several examples".

A statement on the website now reads: "Earlier on Friday we reported that a boss of an NHS trust had contacted the BBC with concerns about the provision of gowns for staff during the coronavirus crisis.

"He had asked the BBC for the phone numbers of Burberry and Barbour - two companies which have become involved in making gowns - because he was concerned about supply shortages.

"We should clarify that the person concerned is not the boss of an NHS trust but is part of a network of organisations helping to source personal protective equipment for some NHS trusts.

"The mistake was caused by a misunderstanding of the person's role in the fight against the pandemic."

But social media users were still upset at the revelation, with some querying why the anonymous man's title had not been fact-checked before publication, while others questioned why the director of an NHS Trust would turn to a broadcaster for the number of a factory.

One user tweeted: "I already tweeted two days ago saying this 'boss' cant be any good if he couldn't find Burberry's phone or the NHS order line for PPE."

READ MORE: BBC Scotland hits back in SNP bias 'war' with Scottish Tories

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland has hit back at claims from the Tories that there has been a "pro-SNP bias" in its coronavirus coverage.

The party issued a letter complaining that Finance Secretary Kate Forbes was not challenged when interviewed on the network by journalist Laura Goodwin.

The broadcaster said it was "disappointing", adding: “The interview with Kate Forbes on Reporting Scotland was robust and challenging and followed comments we aired by business leaders about the support they were receiving."

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