NHS England to solve problem with waiting time targets – don’t have any! NHS Scotland far too close to give up now?

2.4 - Waiting times updated_0

In the Guardian yesterday:

‘Ministers are warned that key targets including A&E treatment and cancer care must be scrapped because of underfunding. NHS [England] bosses have warned ministers they will have to tear up treatment waiting time guarantees and deny patients new drugs next year because they have given it too little money to do its job.’


When you look at the graph above showing the crisis in NHS England A&E, their decision becomes understandable. However, there’s more to it than lack of money given the continuing quality of NHS Scotland. Look at the graph below for A&E Scotland:


Equally under pressure of funding, NHS Scotland have benefitted from good, respectful, consultative, non-gimmicky, governance, from the SNP. See:

‘Scotland has a unique system of improving the quality of health care’ says the Nuffield Trust: Looking at the full report and not the Labour/BBC Scotland extracts in July

NHS Scotland spending on private healthcare falls year-on-year to a five year low as NHS England spending on private health care rockets by 33% to 100 times the Scottish figure! Mind you, 68 English MPs have personal income from private health companies

New Scottish GP contract rated far superior, by BMA, to English equivalent as Scottish GP numbers hold steady and NHS England loses 1 000 in one year!

Despite massive increases in demand, NHS Scotland maintains performance levels extremely close to the most rigorous of targets and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. Audit Scotland say: ‘There were no significant weaknesses in the overall quality of care being provided.’

To quote the first reference above:

‘Scotland has a unique system of improving the quality of health care. It

focuses on engaging the altruistic professional motivations of frontline staff

to do better, and building their skills to improve. Success is defined based

on specific measurements of safety and effectiveness that make sense

to clinicians.’



7 thoughts on “NHS England to solve problem with waiting time targets – don’t have any! NHS Scotland far too close to give up now?

  1. William Henderson December 1, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Hello, John,

    It sounds like Scotland is the only place left in these islands where humanity exists in the souls of those running the country.

    It would appear that England has accepted the view that public health provision is (as in the USA) a source of never-ending income for those with spare cash to invest. Trash the publicly owned NHS, buy the assets for a song and strip them to set up money-making private companies – that’s the way ahead! – and damn this nonsense of actually caring for those who are ill and needing help. Greed has apparently blinded the neocons to the original need for the setting up of the NHS seventy years ago, viz. that the state of health of the population was soo poor that the raising of an army was problematical.

    Forgotten is the fact that a healthy population is a wealthy population which in turn is the root of a wealthy society.

    Long may the common sense and humanity of the Government in Scotland continue to resist the plunder of our National Health Service which has been a shining example to the world during its short existence. Believe me, and this is from direct personal experience, the ordinary people in the USA (and many doctors and nurses) would give their eye teeth for an American NHS.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. macgilleleabhar December 1, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    William Henderson has articulated my thoughts better than I can. Thanks.
    What did pass through my mind was something I read about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Up until about 1973/74 they published annual demographic statistics but then gradually stopped with the first noticed in the “West” being infant mortality figures.
    Unofficial estimates put it at around 14 per cent retrospectively ! That was the first tangible indication that the system was heading for collapse.
    Are we seeing similar signs in England reported on this site recently and today but not on such a dramatic scale ?
    The UK has been in steady decline for over a century so is Brexit/ Neo Liberalism the last straw ?


    • johnrobertson834 December 1, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      As you say, probably not as dramatic as in the Soviet Union or even in Neo-Liberal USA but give the post-Thatcher Tories long enough. Using the same example, we have lower infant mortality and stillbirth figures after only a decade or so.


  3. gavin December 1, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    The conservative regime under May, repeatedly denigrate Scotland and its government’s use of devolved powers. May herself, Mundell and recently Chris Grayling stating Scotland has to utilise its use of devolved powers BETTER, if it wants to get its hands on the (already devolved) EU powers being repatriated.
    They get away with this, because of the lack of context or analysis in Scottish journalism. Not one single “journalist” is interested in comparisons between the Scottish/English NHS, rail punctuality, or police numbers, or prison unrest or any of the rest of it.
    It is really England, whose use of retained powers is in many cases lamentable, which needs to buck up its ideas.
    The BBC in particular has a problem differentiating English/British stats and placing any perspective on the four national competences. Though it has no problem in declaring crisis in Scotland on many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ludo Thierry December 1, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    Hi John and Co. Further to what Gavin has reported there is a good example this very day of how Scotland (and the Wales and Northern Ireland devolved administrations) are being stymied on an important public health issue by UK Govt. apparent inability to make decisions and take actions inaction. The Scottish Govt.’news’ site reports that:

    Joint letter to UK Health Secretary.
    The Scottish and Welsh Governments have written jointly to the UK Health Secretary urging him to take action and introduce mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid on a UK wide basis.
    The Scottish Government, along with Wales, believes this will help to reduce neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn babies. Folate levels are low across the UK by international standards – figures published today show that in Scotland they are particularly low. (From the letter itself – see below):

    “It is of concern that today’s blood folate results show that 81% and 79% of women of childbearing age in Scotland and Wales respectively are below the threshold for increased risk of an NTD affected pregnancy which reinforces the case for action. This compares to 83% in Northern Ireland and 75% across the UK as a whole. We are therefore clear that there remains a compelling case for action across the UK to reduce NTD incidence, particularly in the most socio-economically deprived areas.”

    Between 2007-2011, 158 babies were born in Scotland & detected with Neural Tube Defects at birth or during infancy.
    Between 2007-2011, 131 terminations were performed in Scotland with diagnosis of Neural Tube Defect.

    The Food Safety Scotland modelling has demonstrated how it makes so much more sense to implement this policy using a common structure across the Nations. Here’s hoping the Westmisnter Tory Govt acts on the joint advice from Scotland/Wales. (One never knows?)

    It is really good to see the apparently very good working relationships that are being established between the SNP Scottish Govt and the Labour led Welsh Govt. These shared interests are moving well beyond united opposition to Westminster imposed austerity and brexit madness and are now appearing in close working on public health and public policy issues. (Folate in flour, MUP, Mansion Tax, – Who knows – maybe something might ‘rub off’ on a few Labour politicos here in Scotland in time?)

    Liked by 2 people

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