The RCPCH reported:
‘Unless urgent action is taken, a shortage of children’s doctors in Scotland is putting young people’s health at significant risk and could damage the health of future generations, claims the RCPCH’s latest workforce report. The report, published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, reveals that the paediatric workforce in Scotland is on the brink of a recruitment crisis. The current workforce must expand and include the appointment of at least 82 more consultant paediatricians – an increase of a quarter (25%) – in order to deliver the required standards of care to children and young people.’
Needless to say, Scotland’s NoMedia loved and lived this evidence for their proxy war against the SNP using NHS Scotland. However, the RCPCH has, itself, published evidence to cast their opening melodramatic, tabloid, statement into serious doubt.
In the RCPCH Workforce census 2017 upon which this 2019 report seems to be based, which ‘outlines the UK’s current paediatric workforce supply, compares this to the demand for services and then make an estimate of how many more consultants would be required to meet demand’, we this revealing data:
Using this data, we see that Scotland has 13.2% of the paediatric staffing found in England yet has only has 10% of the population. Had we only the 10% you would expect, all things being equal, that would mean 253 staff and not 338. 25% less paediatric staff? Now, that would be ‘putting young people’s health at significant risk and could damage the health of future generations.’
Wait a minute, maybe there are far more children in Scotland to justify more staff?
Well no, in 2017, there were 679 106 live births in the UK and 52 861 in Scotland. The UK population is just over 12 times that of Scotland but has nearly 13 times the birth rate so, you might argue, it needs more not less paediatric staff.
Well then, maybe we’ll need more staff in the future? No again. See this:
When you look back at some earlier RCPCH reports they seem relatively well disposed toward the Scottish Government.
First, from the RCPCH’s UK report in January 2018:
‘Policies that will improve childhood obesity rates, breastfeeding rates, women’s health during pregnancy, child poverty and child and adolescent mental health have all been welcomed in the new scorecard, which sees the Scottish Government performing far better than the Westminster Government when it comes to its focus on child health.’
We then see an impressive list of achievements, recognised in the report:
‘Key recommendations from State of Child Health that have been adopted include:
- An announcement to expand the number of health visitors by an additional 500 by the end of 2018 through the full roll-out of the Family Nurse Partnership programme.
- A commitment from Scottish Government to ensure specialist breastfeeding advice and support is delivered to women
- A commitment from Scottish Government to review statutory sex and relationships education in all schools
- A commitment from Scottish Government to create a system to ensure that child deaths are properly reviewed
- A commitment to deliver a Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan
- A commitment from Scottish Government to tackle obesity by supporting families to lead active lives, encouraging more women and girls to take up sport and launching a consultation with the view to publishing a strategy later this year’
And there’s more praise from RCPCH UK for the SG:
‘Dr Steve Turner, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Officer for Scotland, said: It’s heartening that the child health and wellbeing agenda is moving forward in Scotland. At the end of 2017 the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament, providing a positive first step towards reducing child poverty. The Scottish Government has led the way nationally by setting a minimum unit price on alcohol, it has committed to deliver a child and adolescent health and well-being action plan in 2018, an obesity strategy and has committed to adopt a ‘child health in all policies’ approach. All of these developments indicate how serious Scottish Government is taking child health and they will help Scotland become a healthier country for children. “Considering only a year has passed since the launch of our State of Child Health report, it is encouraging that so many commitments to child health have been made. The key now is to make sure these commitments are delivered effectively.’
Is this 2019 report then a rogue report from a group within the RCPCH linked to Unionist elements in Scottish politics?