In the Scotsman yesterday, we read the headline:
‘Scots doctors driven abroad by bullying and lack of work-life balance’
However, in the article below, we find the research sample is only 17 from an unspecified total. I can’t actually find out how many ‘foundation year two doctors’ there are but there are 140 000 staff in NHS Scotland and there more than 5 000, even, of that presumably relatively rare breed, the consultants. In the absence of any context provided by the ‘researcher’, we must assume this tiny group of student doctors, saying they plan to leave, may have little representativeness of the wider population. Only 17 of virtually any NHS staffing category is most unlikely to be representative.
As for the bullying implied in the headline, see this detail:
‘Loneliness at work, in particular a lack of contact with other doctors, was an issue for some, as was bullying. And Research author Dr Samantha Smith said negative reasons for leaving such as bullying were “very concerning”. “Even if just one person is experiencing bullying in the workplace that is a bad sign and my own experience in the NHS suggests that bullying does exist there,” she said.’
One? Does Dr Smith really think one case of self-reported bullying is enough to suggest a wider problem in a larger NHS staffing group? Also, does she really think her own personal subjective experience is valid data for a credible research study? Is she an MD (undergraduate) doctor or a PhD doctor who might know something about research methods?
Further, who is the researcher? Who is she employed by? Where was the report published? We find none of this in the Scotsman report and when I look for the author, I find only the Scotsman article to confidently connect with her. Needless to say, there are many Dr Samantha Smith’s including one at the Met Office, one at BUPA, a BBC South-West editor and one in Forensic Chemistry at Derby University but none doing research into healthcare that I can find. Wait a minute, is she Sarah Smith’s daughter?
Seemingly unsatisfied with the damage attempted, the Scotsman author drags in these concerns to further worry the readers:
‘The study has been published amid concern over consultant and GP shortages in Scotland.’
I’ve dealt with this before but here it is again:
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%!
as for GP shortages, just see:
Overall, the Scotsman piece rivals their worst for lack of required details, sources and context. I know I keep using this final dig but, BA Journalism, year 1, week 1, day 1, writing workshop activity – E minus, see me after class.
Naked propaganda and pretty rich, when you read these recent headlines in the English press:
‘Patient safety hit by lack of staff, warn 80% of NHS workers’
‘NHS faces year-round crisis over lack of social care, says council chief’
‘NHS crisis worse than last year as patient care deteriorates, doctors say’
I could go on, and on and……………………