Glasgow Herald ‘racks up’ another NHS scare story

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In the Herald today:

‘Scots mental health units rack up one injury every hour as figures reveal toll of assaults, burns and falls. Mental health units in Scotland are racking up an injury every hour among patients, staff and visitors, figures reveal. Over the past three years, psychiatric facilities recorded an average of 24 incidents a day. These ranged from assaults and accidents such as falls and trips, to substance abuse and issues with absconding and patient transport.’

One every hour? OMG that must a crisis! We better report it….in the public interest of course. Should we cheat a bit by calling all incidents, including trips and running away, ‘injuries’ in the headline? Go on. No one will notice.

Should we mention how many people aren’t ‘injured’ every hour? No? It’s not necessary?

It is quite difficult to say how many patients, staff and visitors there are in mental health units on a typical day.

However, we can say there were 3 572 inpatients being treated in NHS Scotland facilities at the March 2017 Census.

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/09/9675

and, there were around 1 200 psychiatric and psychology staff;

http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Workforce/Publications/2014-11-25/2014-11-25-Psychology-Workforce-Report.pdf?09:10:58

and there should’ve been around 500 registered nurses;

https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2017/04/Rationotrationing.pdf

and, based admittedly on my own visits, at least the same number of nursing assistants.

That would give something like 4 700 staff and patients but not counting drivers, catering staff and any others not mentioned. What about visitors? I know many mental health patients get none but say 1 300? So, 5 000 patients, staff and visitors as a conservative estimate?

OK, every hour an ‘injury’. Let’s use that 1/5 000 ratio to generate some headlines:

‘1 in 5 000 mental health patients, staff or visitors may have been assaulted, fallen, run away or burnt themselves every hour.’

‘0.02% of mental health patients, staff or visitors may have been assaulted, fallen, run away or burnt themselves every hour.’

Now those will have the SNP worried.

 

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Spending by tourists in Scotland soars by infinitely more than in non-Scottish parts of UK!

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(c) Visit Scotland

More measurable than spend, the number of tourists visiting Scotland in 2017, increased by 17% while for the UK, as a whole, it only increased by 1%. However, according to Office for National Statistics (OSN) data released yesterday, tourist spending in Scotland increased by a whopping 23% while in the UK, it fell by 1%.

I’m not a mathematician (no, really, I’m not) so can that even be expressed as a ratio or am I correct in saying it’s just infinitely more in Scotland?

This has been happening since well before 2017 with several reasons offered. See these earlier pieces for more:

Scottish tourism growth outpaces that in UK

Whisky tourism boom expected to add to record year for Scottish tourism in 2018

‘BLOODY HELL Robert the Bruce movie Outlaw King will feature some of the bloodiest battle scenes in cinema history’, put Braveheart in the shade and boost tourism like Outlander.

Glasgow wins two first places in global tourism awards and comes 4th out of 50!

As Scottish Tourism soars, Outer Hebrides to become major centre of marine tourism with funds mostly from SNP-led Scottish government

Boom in Scottish Tourism and in Film and TV production to be enhanced by Edinburgh University and National Museums of Scotland’ MOOC

‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’

North Americans lead surge in Scottish tourism because they feel safer here

Far from Teed Off: Golf tourism ‘drives Scottish economy’…..a bit

Scottish hotels outperform those in rest of UK: STV report good news for Scotland’s economy but fail to understand it

17% increase in visits to Scotland’s historic attractions with massive Outlander effect

414% increase in Chinese tourist spending since 2007!

Outlander has sparked recruitment boom in Highlands

‘Glasgow named top convention spot for a record 12th year in a row’

 

Glasgow Herald’s nauseating attempt to distort truth about Scotland and racist violence

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In the Herald yesterday, we were confronted with the above. You could read that headline two ways – ‘welcome to Scotland because you’ll be safer here’ or, as I suspect they meant, ‘welcome to Scotland because violence is us!’

The article opened with:

‘When Shabaz Ali opened his eyes, after fighting for his life in hospital for three days, he didn’t know where he was.  After his father answered his questions, Shabaz told him he had no future in Scotland. “We ran away from war in Syria, I do not want to die here. This country is not safe for me,” he said.’

On its own, it’s a tragic, highly regrettable incident but, crucially, as the Herald well knows, it’s not representative of Scotland at all. Scotland does have a racism problem. Every country has one. There is, however, clear evidence that Scotland has much less racially-motivated violence, per head of population, than the non-Scottish parts of the UK:

‘There were 3,349 [hate crime] charges reported [in Scotland] in 2016-17, 10 percent fewer than in 2015-16, and the lowest number reported since 2003-04.’

http://www.copfs.gov.uk/media-site-news-from-copfs/1559-hate-crime-in-scotland-2016-17-report-released

Remember these figures include anti-semitism (17), racism and attacks against English, East Europeans, catholics and presumably protestants too.

In England and Wales, however:

 ‘Hate crimes have rocketed by almost a third in the UK in the past year, with unprecedented spikes around the EU referendum and terror attacks recorded by police. New figures released by the Home Office confirm victims’ reports of a dramatic increase in incidents motivated by attackers’ hostility towards their race, nationality, religion or other factors. Data from police forces across England and Wales showed there were almost 80,400 hate crimes recorded in the 2016/17 financial year.’

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/hate-crimes-eu-referendum-spike-brexit-terror-attacks-police-home-office-europeans-xenophobia-a8004716.html

 

BBC Scotland on obesity: My complaint, their tiny grudging acceptance

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On 20th of June 2018, I wrote:

‘New research suggests that more than 1 in 3 women in Scotland will be morbidly obese, that’s at least 100 pounds above their ideal weight, by 2035. The research presented today in Vienna at the European Congress on Obesity indicates that women who have been to university are likely to be more adversely affected than those who didn’t.’

From a report in Medical Express: ‘rates of morbid obesity in adults will reach 5% in Scotland (compared to 4% in 2015), 8% in England (2.9% in 2016), and 11% in Wales (3% in 2015) by 2035.’ So, 1 in 20 Scots are expected to be morbidly obese by 2035. Even if the percentage for Scottish women is higher than for men, 1 in 3 is highly improbable. There are three serious problems with this report. First, the error confusing obesity with morbid obesity thus failing to inform viewers in a manner promised in the BBC’s charter. Second, the failure to report on the key finding that morbid obesity, in Scotland, is expected to plateau at 5% while soaring past that figure elsewhere in the UK. Third, the failure to report on the explanation for the above trend. The researchers offered a clear, confident and simple explanation for the significantly slower growth in obesity in Scotland – Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation. For example: ‘The government put a massive push on developing a route map for how we can actually combat this. They put together resources from the NHS that were proving to be effective. They did put a lot of work into it.’ The effectiveness of the above initiatives can be seen in this: ‘almost no 15-to-24-year-old males in Scotland are expected to fall within this category, compared to 6% of the same group in England.’

CAS-4940361-J4C08P: Good Morning Scotland

In the report on obesity, at 09:00, we heard nine, long, compound sentences yet no reference was made to key role played by Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation as stated clearly by the university researchers. In the Independent newspaper report, for example, we were able to read that the researchers offered a clear, confident and simple explanation for the significantly slower growth in obesity in Scotland – Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation. For example: ‘The government put a massive push on developing a route map for how we can actually combat this. They put together resources from the NHS that were proving to be effective. They did put a lot of work into it.’ Why was this omitted?

Today, I received a paper response from Fraser Steel of the Executive Complaints Unit.

He has accepted that on the mistaken use of the word ‘morbid’, there ‘was a failure to observe the BBC’s standards of due accuracy’ and he is ‘upholding this aspect of your complaint’ with publication on the complaints pages of bbc.co.uk but no corrected broadcast.

As for the matter of attributing credit to the Scottish Government’s initiatives, their (BBC) source was, it seems, only the abstract of the paper and this did not mention it. That relying only on an abstract might be a bit shoddy does not seem to occur. Also, he argues that Reevel Alderson saying that ‘Scotland was expected to far better’ was adequate to ‘reflect the relevant findings.’

I’ve run out of steam and will probably let it go now.

 

BBC Scotland on obesity: My complaint, their tiny grudging acceptance

On 20th of June 2018, I wrote:

‘New research suggests that more than 1 in 3 women in Scotland will be morbidly obese, that’s at least 100 pounds above their ideal weight, by 2035. The research presented today in Vienna at the European Congress on Obesity indicates that women who have been to university are likely to be more adversely affected than those who didn’t.’

From a report in Medical Express: ‘rates of morbid obesity in adults will reach 5% in Scotland (compared to 4% in 2015), 8% in England (2.9% in 2016), and 11% in Wales (3% in 2015) by 2035.’ So, 1 in 20 Scots are expected to be morbidly obese by 2035. Even if the percentage for Scottish women is higher than for men, 1 in 3 is highly improbable. There are three serious problems with this report. First, the error confusing obesity with morbid obesity thus failing to inform viewers in a manner promised in the BBC’s charter. Second, the failure to report on the key finding that morbid obesity, in Scotland, is expected to plateau at 5% while soaring past that figure elsewhere in the UK. Third, the failure to report on the explanation for the above trend. The researchers offered a clear, confident and simple explanation for the significantly slower growth in obesity in Scotland – Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation. For example: ‘The government put a massive push on developing a route map for how we can actually combat this. They put together resources from the NHS that were proving to be effective. They did put a lot of work into it.’ The effectiveness of the above initiatives can be seen in this: ‘almost no 15-to-24-year-old males in Scotland are expected to fall within this category, compared to 6% of the same group in England.’

CAS-4940361-J4C08P: Good Morning Scotland

In the report on obesity, at 09:00, we heard nine, long, compound sentences yet no reference was made to key role played by Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation as stated clearly by the university researchers. In the Independent newspaper report, for example, we were able to read that the researchers offered a clear, confident and simple explanation for the significantly slower growth in obesity in Scotland – Scottish Government policy initiatives and resource allocation. For example: ‘The government put a massive push on developing a route map for how we can actually combat this. They put together resources from the NHS that were proving to be effective. They did put a lot of work into it.’ Why was this omitted?

Today, I received a paper response from Fraser Steel of the Executive Complaints Unit.

He has accepted that on the mistaken use of the word ‘morbid’, there ‘was a failure to observe the BBC’s standards of due accuracy’ and he is ‘upholding this aspect of your complaint’ with publication on the complaints pages of bbc.co.uk but no corrected broadcast.

As for the matter of attributing credit to the Scottish Government’s initiatives, their (BBC) source was, it seems, only the abstract of the paper and this did not mention it. That relying only on an abstract might be a bit shoddy does not seem to occur. Also, he argues that Reevel Alderson saying that ‘Scotland was expected to far better’ was adequate to ‘reflect the relevant findings.’

I’ve run out of steam and will probably let it go now.

 

Serious violent crime soars in broken Tory England but falls in SNP Scotland

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In England and Wales, ‘high-harm’ violent offences involving weapons rose by 16%, in the year-ending March 2018. Homicides rose by 12% to 701 in the same period.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/19/knife-crime-up-16-per-cent-england-and-wales

In the same period, in Scotland, ‘serious assaults’ fell by 1.4% and homicides fell by 12.7% to only 55.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/sexual-and-violent-crime-on-the-rise-in-scotland-1-4746192

I appreciate that ‘high-harm’ and ‘serious’ violence may not be strictly comparable, but the contrasting trends remain of interest.

This is, of course, part of a long-term trend of falling violence in Scotland in the period of SNP administration, where:

‘Crimes of handling of offensive weapons fell by more than two thirds over the last decade. There have been fewer convictions for handling offensive weapons and a fall in the number of emergency hospital admissions due to assault with a sharp object over the same period.’

https://news.gov.scot/news/decrease-in-offensive-weapons-crime

This fall in violent crime is also part of a wider pattern of improvement across Scottish society and in our policing of crime:

Why are prison officers staying in post in Scotland as they flee the tide of violence and self-harm in England and Wales?

Police Scotland, world experts on violence reduction, are now to advise The Met after helping the NYPD and Canada Police. Scotland’s media ignore the story in favour of anything negative they can find.

Less homicide, less knife crime, less domestic violence, safer cities and now much lower alcohol problems: should Scotland’s old stereotypes be sent south?

Reported domestic violence in Scotland falls. Is this part of wider change?

First New York Police and now Canada’s police come to learn from Scotland’s successes in tackling violence

As reported levels of violence against women soar in England and Wales they seem to be falling in Scotland. Will this be reported?

Police Scotland more than fifteen times better at clearing up robberies than English forces!

 

89% of Scottish firms increase or maintain investment

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A survey produced by the Scottish Chambers network and the Fraser of Allander Institute, suggests further evidence of confidence in the Scottish economy. The key points were:

  • Only 15% of firms across the sample reported declining optimism, suggesting resilient business confidence.
  • 48% of firms reporting increased overall revenue, with only 18% reporting a decrease.
  • 89% of firms have increased or maintained levels of investment relative to the previous quarter.
  • Recruitment difficulties rising across sectors, in addition to the proportion of businesses seeking to increase wages.

As a lifetime wage-earner, I see the last one as good news.

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/scottish-business-resilient-recruitment-challenges-12942461

As always, here are the previous optimistic reports leading to this one today:

Scottish small businesses still more confident than those in non-Scottish parts

Business activity soars to four-year high across manufacturing and service

Business confidence in Scotland soars by 24% while it sinks 29% in non-Scottish parts of UK

Scottish businesses more likely to be stable than those in rest of UK: News from a parallel universe unknown to our mainstream media

Scottish Government supports economy with new business rates unique in UK

Scottish business confidence higher than in any other region of UK

Douglas Fraser will be saving these up for one big cheery special.