Lib Dems provide STV and Herald with cheap and shabby copy on NHS consultant costs

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‘Honest, it was that big!’

(c) Herald

The Herald and the STV trumpeted:

‘NHS ‘spends £38,000 a day on consultants’ overtime’

and:

‘NHS spending £38,000 a day on consultants’ overtime’

In both cases the story had been largely researched and written by Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton. Both gave him space to have wee rant and to accuse the Scottish Government of a ‘chronically chaotic approach to workforce planning.’

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16030487.__38k_a_day_for_NHS_consultant_overtime/

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1408541-nhs-spends-38k/

Neither, of course, thought to tell us just how many consultants there are working in the Scottish NHS and how many vacancies need to be covered by overtime payments, to let us put this in a kind of useful context.

As of September 2017, there were 5 189.8 consultants working in NHS Scotland. Though 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. Does this look anything like Cole-Hamilton’s ‘chronically chaotic approach to workforce planning.’?

https://isdscotland.scot.nhs.uk/Health%2DTopics/Workforce/Publications/data-tables2017.asp

https://news.gov.scot/news/latest-nhs-workforce-statistics

So, 430 vacancies out of more than 5 000 consultants and £38 000 spent per day to cover for them? That means, on average, just over £88 spent per day to cover more than 400 vacancies. It’s not exactly spendthrift is it?

Finally, to help the reader put this story in even more context by giving a better example of chaos, see this on the cost of private services:

In year 2015/16 NHS England spent £7 billion on private services. NHS Scotland spent £78.5 million. So, with 10 times the population to care for, NHS England spent nearly 100 times as much on private care. In 2016/17, NHS Scotland spending on private care fell again, to £72 million. The NHS figure for 2016/17 is not available but is expected to have risen even further.

https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/influence/key-negotiations/nhs-funding/privatisation-and-independent-sector-providers-in-nhs-care

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1402987-nhs-spending-on-private-health-care-falls-year-on-year/

Once more, Scotland’s mainstream journos write as if they’ve never had any proper training in the essential use of context to make their stories actually informative and to justify their often-made claim of being public watchdogs. More like establishment poodles, feart of a British bulldog?

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10 thoughts on “Lib Dems provide STV and Herald with cheap and shabby copy on NHS consultant costs

  1. achmony February 19, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    Alex Cole-Hamilton – you are a poisonous lying toad. An undeniable waste of space.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John February 19, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      With daddy in the background pulling all his strings methinks !

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ludo Thierry February 19, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    From today’s Courier site: Mr Cole-Hamilton, who is the Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman, had fought the Edinburgh West constituency but was also a candidate on the party’s list for the Lothians region for Holyrood.

    The Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “The Electoral Commission is responsible for investigating potential breaches of the party spending rules at Scottish Parliament elections. Police Scotland are responsible for investigating potential breaches of candidate spending rules.

    “The Commission was aware that there was already an ongoing Police Scotland investigation into Liberal Democrat candidate spending at the same election and we considered it appropriate to await the outcome of that investigation before considering whether to open an investigation into party spending.”

    A case of a ‘..chronically chaotic approach..’ to honest election expenditure planning?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Scott February 19, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    This last paragraph from you I like.

    Once more, Scotland’s mainstream journos write as if they’ve never had any proper training in the essential use of context to make their stories actually informative and to justify their often-made claim of being public watchdogs. More like establishment poodles, feart of a British bulldog?

    As these people say its the headline that counts ie BBC.

    As for Cole-H will he be found out. Probe launched into Scottish LibDems’ Holyrood election spending

    Have you heard a good joke lately John how about this one.

    BBC Scotland are to give you a program all to yourself,if only.

    Liked by 1 person

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