A million reasons not to trust the Scotsman: Propaganda by big scary fibs?


In the Scotsman/SoS today:

‘One million Scots ‘waiting too long’ for brain treatment. An estimated one million Scots living with brain conditions should be getting better support – with many waiting too long for treatment and a shortage of specialists in the NHS, MSPs have been warned.’

One million! No, really? I live in a street of mainly retired folk. There are 23 of us and one is currently in hospital at the age of 98. All of us are still driving, gardening and arguing about politics. By the law of averages, 4 or 5 of us should need brain treatment. Am I one of those? Don’t answer that.

I quickly read through the piece to find out which expert had warned the MSPs but couldn’t find them. IT-savvy for my age, I did a search for the word ‘million’ and found the 2 in the headline and opening paragraph, above. There’s no source there. It’s also in the url too but again that’s not evidence.

So, none of the experts in the Scotsman report seem to actually say: ‘One million Scots ‘waiting too long’ for brain treatment.’ Interesting that the author put the speech marks around ‘waiting too long’ and not ‘One million.’

Maybe someone did say it to the MSPs but why are they not quoted as having done so? It would be the easy and obvious thing to do if it were in anyway credible. Looks like a big fib to me.

The report also goes on to suggest:

‘Consultants and GPs may also be opting against referring patients for neurological appointments and follow-ups if they think it will only have “moderate benefits” because staffing shortages could result in a system logjam.’


Once more, no reliable evidence that this is true is offered.

It ‘may’ also be the case that some consultants and GPs know that, in some cases, lifestyle changes can be a better strategy than medical intervention. See these examples from a quick search:

A Better Treatment for Alzheimer’s: Exercise – NBC News

Exercise may be best medicine to treat post-concussion syndrome …

Parkinson’s disease: Exercise could STOP condition from getting …

Can exercise help with traumatic brain injury treatment? | UT …

A Simple Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease: Exercise

Brain Scans Often Unnecessary – Live Science

$10 million suit over ‘useless’ brain surgeries – NY Daily News

I could be completely wrong here and will admit it if any reader can show me the evidence that 1 million Scots really do need some kind of medical intervention with regard to their brains.


26 thoughts on “A million reasons not to trust the Scotsman: Propaganda by big scary fibs?

  1. Ian Kirkwood March 25, 2018 / 9:56 am

    It is a number related to Rangers supporters John, I am a Thistle man myself…


    • Alasdair Macdonald. March 25, 2018 / 10:21 am


      Being a Thistle man, too, I have always felt that the disposition associated with such affiliation was indicative of a mental condition and, indeed, I have taken a certain exclusivist satisfaction from that. My GP was a Jags man – photos on the surgery wall, rather than posters about things like diet and stopping smoking – and he told me not to worry, it was society’s fault: He had been at university in Glasgow at the same time as RD Laing.

      Your bluenose hypothesis sounds plausible, but are there a million of them?

      I think the Scotsman piece is from the Private Eye Hack, Madeitallup.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Holebender March 25, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    There are still more than a million unionists in Scotland, ipso facto… QED!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. macgilleleabhar March 25, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    National Records of Scotland the population of Scotland was 5,373,000 in 2015 so according to Scott MacNab twenty per cent of the population of Scotland is at present waiting too long for brain treatment !
    I think the afore mentioned gentleman is looking at a set of figures from a different National Health Service possibly one with more than 50,000,000 patients.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. bigjon999 March 25, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    Seeing as its from the Scotsman doesn’t it mean that their reporter (editor?) thinks there are 1 million SNP voters who need to have their minds wiped clean and reprogrammed to vote Yoon?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. William Henderson March 25, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    Couldit be that, at the Scotsman, the wish is father to the thought and the hope is that brainwashing will be taken over from the MSM by the NHS?

    Public purse propaganda for the proletariat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald. March 26, 2018 / 8:36 am

      It is the subject of Call Kaye this morning and has been handled fairly. Indeed, I think that it has emphasised (just a little) on a couple of occasions that Scotland is doing well in this respect.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ludo Thierry March 25, 2018 / 10:57 pm

    Don’t know if La Bird has/will report on TV news it but there is a link (headline – ‘Alagiah backs Scots cancer screening’) to the UK article on Beeb Jockland website. The UK beeb article quotes George Alagiah’s very positive comments regarding the Scottish NHS programme of offering testing at 2yr intervals from age 50yrs. (I certainly hope we’re all encouraging ourselves, our family, friends and neighbours of the relevant ages to send in their poo-kits. It really is a great programme that has been set up here and is not yet approaching full take-up).

    Liked by 2 people

    • macgilleleabhar March 26, 2018 / 3:27 pm

      Coincidentally I have just received my bowel screening results letter in the post today and thankfully all is well. The program runs from 50 to 74 but after that you can apply to the Scottish Bowel Screening Centre ,Kings Cross, Clepington Road, Dundee.DD 8EA to continue which I intend to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mike cassidy March 26, 2018 / 9:07 am

    The Sue Ryder organisation provided the SNP government with a report last year on the state of neurological treatment in the Scottish NHS.

    The SNP government is due to publish its consultation document this summer.


    It looks like the Scotsman has just made up a story here like the ‘doctors leaving the Scottish NHS’ dissected here a few days ago.

    And like that story, this one – with its suggestion of epidemic levels of neurological problems in Scotland – indicates that the Scotsman have simply given up any pretence of journalistic integrity at least where the SNHS is concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald. March 26, 2018 / 9:23 am

      Does anyone have any information about the takeover of the Johnston Press with the ‘shock horror’ Project Fear nightmare that Alex Salmond would be the CEO?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Harry McKinnon March 26, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    This is possibly , the most ludicrous statement by a “newspaper ” EVER !! Someone , who is resposible for this kind of reporting , should immediately request a brain scan !!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Broadbield March 26, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Here’s the source: http://www.scottishneurological.org.uk/content/res/NAS_Manifesto.pdf There’s no indication how this figure was arrived at. Maybe an email to them for clarification?

    A parliamentary report from Westminster stated: “Two million people in the UK have a neurological condition, including for example those with Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis. The figure excludes people with migraine.” (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/neuro-report-/)


    • Broadbield March 26, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      The same or related charity claims there are 12million cases in England. Again, not clear how this number is calculated and what the conditions are.


  10. mike cassidy March 26, 2018 / 11:26 pm

    I wanted to see if the million in the article arose from English rather than Scottish figures.

    In the English NHS there are 207 Clinical Commissioning Groups.


    An average Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has 59,000 patients with a neurological condition


    That implies – with presumably some CCGs having less and some having more – a staggering 12.2 million of England’s population are patients with some kind of neurological condition

    With the population of England in 2017 only 54.7 million, tell me my maths has gone haywire.

    Or have I stepped in to the sort of twilight zone that produced that ‘million Scots’ figure in the Scotsman article?


    • johnrobertson834 March 27, 2018 / 7:59 am

      Interesting stuff Mike, thanks. Wow! I really don’t know what to make of this. I still find it kind of implausible.


  11. greig12 March 27, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    I looked for the article on the website and couldn’t find it but it got me thinking. If 1,000,000 Scots are waiting too long for brain treatment and I know from experience that everybody doesn’t. then I wonder how many, like me, get theirs in good time. If we assume the whole process isn’t totally incompetent and if for arguments sake we also assume that there’s a similar number receiving their treatment timeously, this means there are 2 million Scots in need of brain treatment. That’s very approximately 35-40% of the population.

    That in my totally unresearched and off the top of my head opinion makes us the world leader in having brain disorders.

    Another first for Scotland.

    It also probably explains the 2014 referendum result.

    Liked by 1 person

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