The Daily Mail has printed a correction having falsely alleged that staff at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence spent thousands of pounds in champagne bars.

Earlier this month (January 10), the newspaper published an article on its front page criticising NICE for spending £115,000 on taxpayer-funded credit cards over the past two-and-a-half years. One particular claim by the Mail was that £3,346 was spent at Searcy’s, a chain of champagne bars in London.

NICE responded swiftly to the piece, noting that the latter sum was indeed paid to Searcy's, but not on champagne. The succinct Mail correction states: "We have been asked to make clear that this sum was for room hire and catering for committee meetings on two occasions at the Royal College of General Practitioners and at the Commonwealth Club."

When the article first appeared, NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon wrote to the newspaper saying that the cost watchdog "doesn't spend public money in champagne bars [and] had you asked and given us the time to respond, we could have made that clear". He went on to say that "you have a right, you might say a duty to examine how public bodies spend their money. But if you're going to do it, you should do so with due care and attention. You haven't done so in this case and as a consequence you've both misled the public and damaged our reputation".