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A television journalist from Barra has been awarded high honours from the Royal Television Society, in the RTS television journalism awards, announced last night (Wednesday 1 March).

Ardeveenish man Michael Iain Buchanan received the specialist journalist of the year award for his BBC Panorama programme ‘Maternity scandal: fighting for the truth.’

First broadcast in February 2022, the programme investigated why it took campaigning parents to find out the truth behind one of the biggest scandals in the history of the NHS.

Michael Buchanan had previously investigated the tragedy in maternity care hospitals in Shropshire, where many babies died and others were left with life-changing injuries following repeated failures in care.

In his award-winning follow-up investigation, he met families who had never spoken out before and former insiders, who described a dysfunctional culture within the health trust that contributed to the truth being buried.

Announcing his programme award, the RTS said: “The winner is a journalist who has devoted several years to pursuing and exposing appalling failures which wrecked many lives.

“Despite the emotional nature of his stories, the jury agreed this reporter never loses his focus and clarity.”

Michael’s programme had widespread impact and continued to push investigation after its broadcast.

In the week following its airing, the Patients Association released a statement in which they said: “We praise the bravery of those who spoke publicly on the programme about losing their children and the injuries sustained by women during childbirth.

“We admire and commend the tenacity of the families who have fought for years to bring profound failures in maternity care to public attention, despite being rebuffed by those who ought to have helped them.

“During the programme, we heard how patients’ concerns around the time of delivery were dismissed by healthcare professionals, with catastrophic results for the patients, their children and families.”

And a medical negligence law specialist said after the programme: “Last night’s Panorama programme provided an eye-opening investigation into the maternity failures at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. It was devastating and harrowing, but a necessary watch.”

With news of Michael Iain’s win yesterday, many Barra neighbours and friends commended his track record and congratulated him on his recognition.

One neighbour said: “It’s great to see your dedication to the truth has been recognised.”