It’s 0.26am and while you, especially if you’re elderly, infirm or, better still, have a young child, are a bit tender, Reporting Scotland is ready with your occasional but potent dose of Fear of Nightmares medication delivered aurally in our long-running failing hospitals soap. From the smiling Nurse Shearer, who according to our facial expression analysis register software (FEARS), believes what she says and is just following orders:
‘Good morning. The health of Scotland’s children is being put at risk by staff shortages according to a new study.’
Well that’s woken us up. I can feel the sharp dip in my emotions.
‘The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says a shortage of children’s doctors is leaving staff struggling to cope and could lead to more paediatric wards closing.’
A ‘royal college’ with a big word in their title? Impressive. They probably can be trusted unlike, say the RMT. What, they’re a trades union which campaigns for their members interests?
They did a ‘study’. That’s like research and not just journalism, isn’t it? Well we don’t hear about their methods but, based on past experience, it will be another self-selecting sample using the ‘squeaky wheel’ algorithm which gives you the best results if you want to make demands.
Here are some earlier reports on the kinds of ‘research’ done by our royal colleges trades unions:
Contrary to Royal ‘College’ of Nursing’s ill-informed carping, the SNP Administration future-proofs nursing in Scotland as NHS England enters a training and staffing crisis
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s shoddy research exaggerates the level of child poverty in Scotland by contrast with other parts of the UK
Why won’t Royal College of Nursing release full results of a members’ survey?
Royal College of Nursing Refuse tgo let me see full data
The Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland Region: In Scotland but not with Scotland or with its members?
Now, I haven’t talked of the media ‘constructing’ reality here because the word can suggest ‘making up’ reality. The social scientists first using the term ‘construction’ did not, of course mean it in that way, but to avoid accusations of paranoia from the usual suspects at BBC Scotland, I’ll use the term ‘agreeing’ based on this piece which I only partly agree with myself:
‘The media can act as a socializing agent by constructing reality and then disseminating this reality to the mass public. The “social” element comes into play when upon receiving the media’s “reality” message, the vast majority agree upon this reality and accept it. Following this pattern, social construction may be more appropriately referred to as social agreement of reality. The term construction seems to imply that the media is “making-up” or “creating” reality. While some would agree with the previous statement, I believe to spout such an assertion is ludicrous because the media often must report issues that are simply a matter of operating by typical journalist guidelines/standards. Someone must make decisions concerning what information passes on to the public. Should this be a government responsibility or the responsibility of individuals who have a real desire to be in the industry and have studied the industry? While it is easy to sit back and criticize the media, they are providing a necessary function to society and individuals need this function (i.e., information providing).’
I’m going to argue here that a group of individuals at BBC Scotland are making decisions leading to distortion of reality with damaging consequences for wider public health and for democratic engagement, despite having the guidance of a royal charter to make them ‘responsible’ and to ‘inform’ having, presumably, studied the industry at an academic level.
It’s relentless, isn’t it?
I’m still convinced that behind all of this psychiatric manipulation of the ‘news’ there is a small simple mind at work – and its only interest is MONEY!
In the same way that Scotland itself is an entity of huge natural and human wealth to be plundered, so the NHS is the conduit for an enormous flow of hard cash to be potentially manipulated and ‘creamed’ for the benefit of the thinking and focused few.
To resort to an old metaphor, the presenters of this psycologically disturbed media barrage are simply the monkeys. The organ grinder remains safely out of sight.
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Though maybe some of the monkeys after long service and perhaps integrating with one or two of the human tribes, eg the Labourahuri and the Torybastardi, get some say in it?
Yes, John, I suppose ‘practice makes perfect’, but what are the monkeys’ career prospects if their own initiative doesn’t match the organ grinder’s?
I hold the view that if we know their names and faces they are bit players and ‘useful idiots’ to the real manipulators.
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There were two’ health’ stories this morning.
The first was the ‘scare’ on which you have just reported, with the interviewer stressing the title ‘PROFESSOR”, which the interviewee had. The high-falutin title of the trade union for which he was speaking was subsequently reduced to RCPCH. At no time was it identified for what it is – a trade union.
The second was a representative from a campaign group for women who are in chronic pain because of mesh implant surgery. She was campaigning for treatment by a US surgeon who has, reportedly, devised a microsurgery technique which removes all traces of mesh, which the current partial procedures do not do. The demand was not only for this surgeon to be engaged to carry out surgery, but that he should also train surgeons in Scottish hospitals in the use of the technique.
Now, of course I am sympathetic to the permanent discomfort that these women are experiencing and would be happy to support plausible and reasonable approaches to help them. However, the woman being interviewed adopted an aggressive approach overtly attacking the Health Boards and the Scottish Government. The interviewer facilitated this.
This demand is based on the experience of one woman who, at her own expense (I assume) was treated by the surgeon in the US and reported great satisfaction. That is great news. However, we are being asked on the basis of one woman’s testimony that this should be provided for all at the public’s expense.
Later, following the usual ‘we asked the SG for a comment but no one was available’ innuendo, there was an interview with former health Minister, Mr Alex Neil, who tried to set the issue in context, discussing matters like ‘capacity’ within NHS Scotland and other matters as well as a cross-party approach involving Mr Jackson Carlaw and a Labour Party MSP.
There are procedures for the evaluation of drugs and techniques and these have to be followed pretty rigorously to try to avoid problems such as occurred with mesh implants, or thalidomide.
There is a genuine debate to be had. But, this was an opportunity to carp, by someone utilising her own discomfort, which I do not doubt is severe, to prey on the good humane principles of the majority of us. There are people who would like expensive medicines, such as for cancer treatments and other ‘deserving’ cases, but we have to have a debate to enable us to establish priorities and criteria. These are ‘hard’ decisions.
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The fact that the media have chosen to sensationalise the data in the RCPCH report should not detract from the real and useful information in the report which follows on from previous workforce reports from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health which has produced workforce reports every two years since 1999.
Their workforce reports provide a useful indicator of factors affecting recruitment as well as recommendations to address the issues.
To attempt to dismiss the College as some sort of trade union and its reports as some sort of ‘back of an envelope’ job does them a serious disservice.
This link gives details of how, and from whom, the data is collected and the reports are put together
In the report published in 2017 based on the 2015 census of the pediatric workforce they highlighted various issues such as difficulty in filling specialist training places in England, increase in doctors wishing to work part-time, decrease in pediatricians coming from the EU and low morale among junior doctors in part due to the dispute over the new contract. Something that affected junior doctors in England but has an ongoing ripple effect across medicine as a whole.
Many of these issues are still current.
The 2019 report based on the data gathered in 2017 may be found here.
The Workforce Report based on the 2015 census can be found here
Here is a link to the history of the RCPCH.
Strangely it does not mention anything about negotiating salaries or associated activities.
All true no doubt but how they then produce a staff shortage supposedly endangering lives when the staffing here is so much higher than in the UK, leaves me suspicious.
As for ‘The fact that the media have chosen to sensationalise the data in the RCPCH report’, do you doubt that is was the RCPCH which initiated the contact with BBC Scotland and that their leaders are deeply embedded in the same interlocking elites who by acting in their own interests act in the interest of the status quo ie the UK?