I called the Star, who were very insistent that anything i had to say on the issue of grs costs was simply “opinion”.
However, they checked the story – presumably on some online system that supposedly checks where they got their various story inputs from – and told me that the figure of £60,000 for a sex change came directly from Cathy Ann Daniels.
Anyone out there know her? Anyone able to ask her to confirm whether or not she spoke with the press and if so, whether she gave out a figure for the cost of her transition?
Even so…add in oestrogen, testosterone-blockers, therapy and a bit of electrolysis and i can’t see how the total bill can go much in advance of £15,000 – though very happy to see any evidence to contradict this.
The newsdesk person then started to get a bit shirty…insisted on calling it “opinion”, whilst inserting various opinions of her own: i didn’t know what extra procedures had been required, whether there was any extra work, and so on.
She also did a bit of teaching granny to suck eggs: tried to “explain” to me what was involved in the grs procedure. A little bit about how complicated it all could be and how i couldn’t know what was involved in Cathy’s case.
All very plausible in principle. However, the remarkable similarity between the figure quoted in the Star and the same figure being quoted all over the web by other tabloids leaves me suspicious.
I’ve put a call in to Lancashire NHS to ask if they gave out a figure to the press – and also what they would regard as indicative costs for this procedure.
Meanwhile, i am left with an interesting dilemma. It IS possible that Cathy gave out a figure. If so, i’d be interested to know where on earth she got it from, since i didn’t think that the NHS was in the habit of telling patients what their treatment cost.
Alternatively – and this is quite serious if it is the case – the Star’s automated system of fact-checking is just a pile of poo. Because, of course, any and every databzase is only as good as the data that gets fed into it…and i can easily see how data indicating that the cost was based on a direct quote from the individual could, itself, be misconstrued within the system.
We’ll see. I remain spectacularly unconvinced that the press did get this figure off her…but if she did, that adds a whole new dimension to community foot-shooting.