NHS Scotland has massively increased staffing of consultants and acute medicine specialists under SNP administration. Try telling the Daily Excess.


Back on the 5th December, the Daily Excess headlined:

‘Scottish NHS ‘failed’ by SNP as shortage of doctors and nurses grows’

They went on to make much of the shortage of consultants whose specialisms are so important in extreme cases. To start the new year, we should see more clearly, than they wanted us to see, the somewhat more positive context and trends over 2017 and over the ten-year period of SNP responsibility.

As of September 2017, there were 5 189.8 consultants working in NHS Scotland. Thought there are still 430.5 vacancies still to be filled, the shortage fell in the last quarter by 9.6% and the annual overall number of consultants rose by 3.5%. Vacancy rates for consultants are also down from 8.3% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2017. More strikingly, consultant numbers have risen by 43.1% under the current government! To put that in context, overall NHS Scotland staffing has risen by 25.4% in the ten years of SNP administration.

Also in 2017, the number of specialists in intensive care increased by 27.5% and the number of specialists in acute internal medicine increased by 49.2%!




I agree that the shortages matter but professionalism in journalism requires context to be informative and they do claim to be informing when they’re asked about it. Mostly however, the Daily Express seems more concerned, regardless of the facts, to express the excrement out of us.


11 thoughts on “NHS Scotland has massively increased staffing of consultants and acute medicine specialists under SNP administration. Try telling the Daily Excess.

  1. Alasdair Macdonald January 2, 2018 / 11:37 am

    Another fine rebuttal and clarification.

    We do need a proper public debate on how our health service is to be made adaptable in changing circumstances especially, in circumstances where public sector spending is being squeezed and the SG’s ability to raise taxes is limited. However, the Express article quoted the usual suspects – Anas Sarwar (he has a medical background so he must know what he is talking about, mustn’t he????) and the Royal College of Nursing.

    Sadly, I think that Labour at Holyrood is irredeemable; they are ingrained in an oppositionist mindset and anger at the fact that they are not in their entitled place as the government.

    Prior to the New Year, we had the leader of the BMA complaining about the reliance on targets in making judgements about the NHS and the malign effect this is having on staff morale. I agree with regard to targets, because, once they are set, they immediately become weapons for opponents and the media to beat people with; even when an improvement has been achieved but which has fallen short of the target it is ‘SLAMMED’ as ‘A FAILURE’. And, one consequence is that energy and time is spent massaging the figures rather than examining the reasons why the target has not been reached (which is often the result of the target actually being arbitrary in the first place.) So, the BMA, RCN and other public sector unions need to start taking a more nuanced approach to these things. Of course, they have to defend and seek to improve wages and conditions, but they also have to show that ‘professional’ entails a strong measure of taking responsibility for improving the service IN THE INTERESTS OF THE USERS. Now, in fact, many union officials and negotiators have an excellent understanding and, in the negotiation room are capable of coming to deals which do benefit all concerned. But, at the public meetings, they often bow to the bayings of ‘the activists’, who, of course, immediately condemn their own side as having ‘sold out’.

    I have much more confidence in the common sense of the general public, but not enough of us use the opportunity to use social media to make the case. It is growing, particularly amongst younger people. However as far as the dead tree media is concerned, we have the same crass reactionaries – identified by Wings over Scotland – who get letter after letter published ….. even in the self-proclaimed independence supporting twosome.


    • johnrobertson834 January 2, 2018 / 4:28 pm

      Thanks, good points as always. My experience in hospital last (just) year was that the staff no longer watched or read media reports on their performance. They were pleased when I showed them my reports but were less angry than me because they no longer bothered.


      • Don January 3, 2018 / 5:19 pm

        Thank you for writing! 🙂


    • johnrobertson834 January 3, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      I don’t think SNP HQ can be as direct or as nippy as me because they need to look calm and professional. I understand that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don January 3, 2018 / 5:21 pm

    It’s easier online where I can type what I think, delete it and write a politer version 😆


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s