Poxy Unionist media unfairly attack NHS in proxy war against SNP



Rennie and Bennie (c) Heathcare Times and Scottish Sun

As Willie Rennie is reported to be joining his own campaign to have the Health Secretary sacked and as the three Unionist party’s reform their unholy trinity with the Tories who have single-handedly reduced NHS England to humanitarian crisis (no speech marks required), BBC Scotland and the ever-loyal Herald have launched another NHS attack using the unverified and partisan impressions of a trades unionist.

Here are the headlines:

‘BBC Scotland: ‘Scottish doctors’ leader warns health service ‘deteriorating (sic)’’

BBC Scotland: ‘Patients suffering’

Herald: Dr Peter Bennie: doctors in Scotland ‘under pressure like never before’

Note the use of speech marks so that they can claim to be not guilty of accusations of propaganda? ‘We never said they were actually deterioriating (bad grammar!). Readers understand speech marks. We’ll some balance in the report…..near the end when, hopefully, readers have stopped reading.’ Here’s a bit of the BBC report:

‘Scotland’s leading doctor has warned patients are “suffering” because of funding cuts and staff shortages. Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of BMA Scotland claimed staff and funding are not keeping up with demand.He said the gap is putting unprecedented strain on doctors and that all parts of the profession are “under pressure like never before”….Doctors struggle with the implications of this on a daily basis, with services deteriorating, patients suffering as a result and more pressure being put on already overworked staff.’


The Herald repeated the anecdotal ‘evidence’ (I can use ‘’ too):

‘Doctors in Scotland are “under pressure like never before” amid shortfalls in funding and rising vacancies, a leading medic has warned. Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of doctors’ trade union BMA Scotland, said services are deteriorating and patients are “suffering” because NHS resources cannot cope with growing demand.’


Note the ‘leading doctor’ bit? To be fair, the Herald do mention that he is a trades union leader.

The ‘leading doctor’ and the ‘chairman of BMA Scotland’ bits suggest authority and the need for particular respect. Peter Bennie is chairman, elected union leader, of the British Medical Association’s Scottish branch. I’ve had a wee search, but I can find no sign of him being a leading doctor. There’s no sign of awards for exceptional practice nor research publications presenting cutting-edge findings to move practice on nor is there even sign of him having managed anything much. It looks like he might be a leading trades unionist though, again, he’s no Bob Crowe, late of the RMT and the BMA Scotland is pretty wee. If he’s leading anything it’s in an essentially political role and not medical role so he’s not a ‘leading doctor’ and ‘convener’ would be more accurate than ‘chief’.

I’m not knocking being a trade union leader by any means. I was a lifelong member of the teachers’ EIS union. I remember many of its ‘leaders’ at different levels. Often good trades unionists, I don’t remember any of them have been leading educationists. They were usually people who had become more interested in the political role of the unions and gradually rose within those organisations on the basis of popularity.

So, Doctor Bennie is primarily getting attention in the Scottish mainstream (Unionist) media because he is a trades unionist in a union with posh sounding personal and organisational titles and a very Unionist sounding, name.

Now, what about his claims? Needless to say, he offers no empirical evidence to back them up, not even a badly done survey done by his ‘research’ team. Notably, the BMA nationally and the respected Nuffield Trust researchers don’t seem to share his concerns. Here’s what BMA HQ in London and the Nuffield Trust think:

Scottish Government funds new initiative to reduce planned waiting times in the wake of BMA praise for its new GP contract and illustrating what the Nuffield Trust called ‘a unique system of improving the quality of health care.’

Scottish GP Contract rated ‘far superior’ by BMA, introduced today, to strengthen patient care

As anti-SNP media scrabble desperately for a crisis in NHS Scotland, GP numbers hold constant and access for patients remains far better than in any other part of the UK

Secondly, there is considerable evidence that NHS Scotland is performing pretty well despite the pressures. See these, again:

Despite massive increases in demand, NHS Scotland maintains performance levels extremely close to the most rigorous of targets and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. Audit Scotland say: ‘There were no significant weaknesses in the overall quality of care being provided.’

NHS Scotland A&E performance is more than 10% better than NHS England though BBC Salford mislead viewers by using wrong figure

NHS Scotland: 27% increase in kidney transplants including 10% increase from living donors as ‘UK’ level falls to eight-year low

Bed-blocking in NHS Scotland falls by nearly 10% in one year as the rate in NHS England surges to nearly 500% higher, per capita, than that in NHS Scotland!

National auditors find two very different NHS systems in the UK. Someone tell Theresa today.

NHS Scotland significantly outperforms NHS England on cancer waiting times despite demand soaring: Herald fails to report properly again

As already better-staffed NHS Scotland’s vacancies run at half the rate in England, ‘The extent of the [UK] Government’s failure to plan the NHS workforce is astonishing.’

‘NHS England cancelling operations at three times the rate in Scotland!’ or ‘With 10% of the population to care for, NHS Scotland cancels only 3.3% of NHS England operations cancelled in January’

NHS England ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses as 33 000 leave each year. NHS Scotland Nurse staffing increases.

‘NHS Compensation Claims in England four times higher than in Scotland!’ or Scotsman journalist fails professional test for lumping statistics and lack of context in report on NHS Scotland compensation

Putting the A&E figures in perspective: NHS England patients were more than twice as likely to wait over four hours throughout 2017.

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

You’d think the BMA in Scotland would be listening to the horror stories from their English colleagues, recognising the demonstrable superiority of the NHS Scotland, blessing their good luck to be here and not there, and maybe even seeing the sense in independence?


14 thoughts on “Poxy Unionist media unfairly attack NHS in proxy war against SNP

  1. Ian Kirkwood April 21, 2018 / 8:36 am

    Keep up the great work John, we cannot allow these people to fool the public into believing this nonsense. Does anyone truly believe that the likes of Leonard or Rennie would survive one single day of running Scotland? The unionist parties will stop at nothing in their efforts to make the SNP government look incompetent, including as we see all too often supporting Davdson and her truly incompetent tories. I find it incredulous and sickening to witness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Vince Orchiston April 21, 2018 / 9:59 am

    That’s why every single lie should be highlighted, recorded and apologies demanded from an overwhelmingly biased media that will stop at absolutely nothing to smear all the good work that the SNP are actually doing for the people of Scotland. All these accusations are becoming increasingly more desperate from the opposition and the mainstream media so much so that you would think they know something that even the SNP don’t. Maybe they have all taken secret polls from the public and are shocked at the results and the Independence vote is hovering around the 60% mark ,who knows? Maybe that’s why they’re becoming increasingly more desperate with they’re SNP bad smear campaign.The SNP can’t just keep sitting back and taking it on the chin all the time , they have to start calling them out on it especially when you have one half of Scotland who just glance at the headlines and believe it because they can’t be arsed reading the rest of the story to make a real judgement on whether it’s true or not and the mainstream media play on this to the hilt.
    What I will say though is ” You have got to admire the tenacity of the SNP …they have the full might of the devious British State mainstream media against them and still they are the most popular party in Scotland and that is no mean feat.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bigjon999 April 21, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    Why is Willie Rennie going down on a ram?


    • johnrobertson834 April 22, 2018 / 7:43 am

      To prove the saying wrong?

      What’s the origin of the phrase ‘Like being savaged by a dead sheep’?

      This was said by combative UK Labour politician Dennis Healey on being criticized by the mild mannered Tory minister Geoffrey Howe in the UK House of Commons in June 1978.


      • Dave Simpson April 22, 2018 / 2:27 pm

        It was Geoffrey Howe that finally put the knife into Maggie.


  4. Ludo Thierry April 25, 2018 / 11:07 am

    Dear old Sir Geoffrey – a wolf in dead sheep’s clothing?


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