The Herald headlined today with:
‘SNP priorities on health all wrong, warns leading Scots doctor’
The BBC website unsurprisingly echoed the story with:
‘BMA leader warns NHS struggling to cope’
Here we go again; the forces of Unionism never sleep.
I’ll get to the main point soon but I need to deal with the ‘leading scots doctor’ bit first. Peter Bennie is chairman of the British Medical Association’s Scottish branch. I’ve had a wee search but I can find no sign of him being a leading doctor. There’s no sign of awards for exceptional practice nor research publications presenting cutting-edge findings to move practice on nor is there even sign of him having managed anything much. It looks like he might be a leading trades unionist though, again, he’s no Bob Crowe, late of the RMT and the BMA Scotland is pretty wee. If he’s leading anything it’s in an essentially political role and not medical role so he’s not a ‘leading doctor.’
I’m not knocking being a trade union leader by any means. I was a lifelong member of the teachers’ EIS union. I remember many of its ‘leaders’ at different levels. Often good trades unionists, I don’t remember any of them have been leading educationists. They were usually people who had become more interested in the political role of the unions and gradually rose within those organisations on the basis of popularity.
So Doctor Bennie is primarily getting attention in the Scottish mainstream (Unionist) media because he is a trade unionist in a union with a posh sounding and very Unionist sounding, name.
Right, on the main point – what are the actual priorities that he says the SNP is getting ‘all wrong?’ Well, he’s a bit short on detail and just seems to want more money spent on NHS Scotland. He doesn’t for example have anything to say about the big SNP priority of integrating social and health care which is receiving praise (https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/integrated-care-northern-ireland-scotland-and-wales?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_term=socialshare)
and looks like working in terms of, for example, reducing bed blocking by the elderly in the way English hospitals are being paralysed by. So, like all trades unionists, he asks his members if they want more money and resources and they say yes, please. Is that how he thinks you run anything at all?
Back in June, I posted a list, fully sourced, of fifteen ways in which NHS Scotland was doing well, by UK and global comparison, regardless of his judgement that more cash was needed or we’d be heading for a crisis. I’ll repeat the link for them at the bottom of this. First, though, here’s a novel idea. Here are some things that NHS Scotland, thanks to the Scottish Government, is NOT doing….badly….unlike Tory-managed NHS England:
- We’ve had NO junior doctors’ strikes causing thousands of cancelled and delayed operations because the SNP unlike the UK Tories haven’t tried to bully them into new contracts. Thank goodness for BBC News at 6 telling us this because Reporting Scotland won’t touch the story with a disinfected endoscopic probe.
- NHS Scotland has NOT been cancelling large numbers of urgent operations like NHS England (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/24/number-of-urgent-operations-cancelled-record-high-nhs-england). If they had, do you think Reporting Scotland would have neglected to tell us?
- Scottish hospitals have NOT been told to put thousands of operations ‘on hold’ over Xmas and New Year to ‘free up beds.’ (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/16/hospitals-in-england-told-to-put-operations-on-hold-to-free-up-beds). Again, if they had, do you think Reporting Scotland would have neglected to tell us?
- There is NO social care and bed-blocking crisis in Scotland because the Scottish Government has been integrating the two for years now (https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2016/dec/21/theresa-may-recognises-social-care-crisis-but-solution-seems-far-off)
- Bed blocking by the elderly is down 12% in Scotland (http://www.scotsman.com/news/bed-blocking-in-scottish-hospitals-continues-to-fall-1-4160213) and up 80% in England for the same reason (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/dec/10/tory-plans-making-social-care-worse?CMP=share_btn_tw)
- There’s NO evidence of a crisis in Scottish Maternity wards despite a shamefully distorted Reporting Scotland story (https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com/2016/11/22/the-power-of-early-morning-nightmares-and-expectant-mothers-bbc-scotland-callously-undermines-the-morale-of-midwives-their-patients-expectant-mothers-and-their-relatives-with-highly-selective-and/)
So, as so often before, the Unionist media shamelessly ‘weaponise’ NHS Scotland with apparently no care for the possible effects on anxious prospective patients. Who knows how many they’ve scared into delaying requests for treatment.
Finally, here’s the link for the list of 15 I published in June:
Take care, everyone. Don’t let the bastards grind us down.