Closer examination of the NHS Choices website, following the remarkable revelations about its article on homeopathy and the Department of Health’s insistence that homeopathic feathers are not ruffled, shows up something rather interesting.
Its editorial policy is clearly set out and appears sensible, at first. NHS Choices will, it trumpets, “strive to ensure that content is evidence-based, in other words that it is founded on the best scientific knowledge currently available”. Excellent. That’s what we want. And so on, through a reassuringly detailed process.
And then the sting in the tail. There, in black and white all along on its own website, NHS Choices says that before any piece of content for which there is a relevant policy is published, as part of the sign off process, it must be “read by an official at the Department of Health who checks it for alignment with that policy”. The website is strangely silent about what happens next, but perhaps we can guess.