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.