Should read: ‘after BBC attack’
In fact, the department looks ‘average’ and by no means ‘dysfunctional’. See the statistics below.
On the evening of April 1st, Reporting Scotland said of NHS Tayside’s Oncology Department at Ninewells in Dundee:
‘The report today pointed to the possibility of a dysfunctional department. ‘Detectives’ spoke of pharmacy and nursing staff who said they had concerns about the change of procedures, but they felt they were not being listened to.’
Only Reporting Scotland used the word ‘dysfunctional’. The BBC website and all the papers I looked at (8) did not use the term. Though only 14 out of the 304 patients (4.6%) who received the reduced-dose therapy, to reduce terrible side-effects, are being investigated, NHS Tayside have been bullied into a review just as NHS Glasgow were over pigeon poo-related infections.
Reporting Scotland did not think to look for any contextual evidence to support their accusation of the department being dysfunctional. Given the potential anxiety-inducing consequences for hundreds of patients of using that term, I suppose they didn’t care.
Some time ago, I had an exchange with a Reporting Scotland editor who told me it was all very well for academics go on about peer-reviewed sources of evidence. I just didn’t understand journalism. Maybe he felt they were working so fast and to tight dead-lines, that it was unreasonable to expect them to spend hours poring over the evidence. This took me ten minutes to find.
There are three useful ways of measuring these rates, used by scientists world-wide. In all three, NHS Tayside has an average rate of mortality per 100 000 persons, for its breast cancer patients and lower than for some other (dysfunctional?) health boards:
Measure NHS Tayside Scotland NHS Grampian
EASR 18 17.5 19
WASR 8.3 7.8 8.6
SMR 101.1 100 108.4
These are not statistically significant variations in a total sample of 424 deaths, in NHS Tayside, over a period of 5 years.
So, NHS Tayside is just average, but BBC Reporting Scotland can only dream of such success.