Herald says ‘tripled’ yet NHS stats say down 80%: Who you gonna believe?


‘Shocking new figures’ from a Herald on Sunday ‘investigation’ form the basis for this latest scare story on NHS Scotland, building on Reporting Scotland’s series on the Carseview Unit in Dundee. As with previous topics such as Ecstasy deaths or dangerous dogs, some readers and writers are known to become excited if they think a bigger pattern is emerging even if they should know that it is their decisions which are creating its emergence in the first place.

I wonder, if there is any other evidence to back up the headline claim? See this official statement:

‘Over the last six years, collaboration and innovation from staff, service users and carers – along with the application of quality improvement and improvement science – has seen a reduction in self-harm of up to 68 per cent, a reduction in violence of up to 80 per cent and a reduction in the rate of restraint of up to 80 per cent across Scotland as of April 2018 compared to August 2012’


Makes you wonder, doesn’t it. I’m not a subscriber so I can’t assess the Herald’s research methods. Perhaps a reader can?

Also, you see the word ‘dangerous’ there in the headline? I did an extended search for any evidence of death, resulting from such constraint. I found lots, in England. I could only find one in Scotland in 2001:

‘There are no absolute safe restraint positions; even the recovery position has been associated with a restraint-related death in Scotland. Morrison and Saddler (2001).’


In England, from Mental Health Today in 2018, I found:

‘Thirty-two women died after experiencing restraint over a five-year period, according to new figures obtained by Agenda, an alliance for women and girls at risk.’


The article seems to be entirely based on NHS England and English politicians. There is no mention of Scotland anywhere. Then in the Guardian in June 2018:

‘A total of 3,652 patients suffered an injury through being restrained during 2016-17 – the highest number ever – according to data from 48 of England’s 56 mental health trusts. The figures raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the government’s drive to reduce use of techniques which critics say can be traumatic for patients and even endanger their lives.’


Looking, for comparable figures for Scotland, I couldn’t find any. It’s a bit different but Conservative Home helped out with:



The Guardian figures are for injuries due to restraint only while the above are for all injuries including ‘trips’, but, if they are correct……well I’m worried…….about the methods used by Scottish Conservative mental, health spokeswoman, Annie Wells.





4 thoughts on “Herald says ‘tripled’ yet NHS stats say down 80%: Who you gonna believe?

  1. Alasdair Macdonald April 21, 2019 / 9:52 am

    Should the headline not be ‘Herald’ rather than ‘Hootsmon’?

    This is just a repeat of the same kind of trash, you have rebutted on countless occasions but are having to continue to do with this specific one. You have to do it of course, and, more power to your keyboard!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ludo Thierry April 24, 2019 / 4:59 pm

    Hi John – hope all is well and that you are enjoying a wee bity of rest time. Apologies for going off-topic but noticed these further encouraging stats regarding reductions in ‘derelict and urban vacant land’ carried on the news.gov.scot site: link and snippets below (note the consistent pattern of reduction over the period since 2012):


    Data from the 2018 Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey gives the following results:

    The total amount of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland has decreased by 716 hectares (6%) in the latest year, from 11,753 hectares in 2017 to 11,037 hectares in 2018.

    Of the 11,037 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land recorded in the 2018 survey 1,992 hectares (18%) were classified as urban vacant and 9,044 hectares (82%) were classified as derelict.

    The net decrease of 716 hectares (6%) between 2017 and 2018 is the result of 350 hectares being brought back into use, 632 hectares recorded as naturalised (including 561 hectares of former open cast coal sites in East Ayrshire where restoration schemes are now complete)

    The total amount of derelict and urban vacant land has decreased each year between 2012 and 2018 except for 2014 when there was an increase of 2,091 hectares compared to 2013, largely due to over 2,200 hectares of former surface coal mine sites in East Ayrshire that had become derelict following the liquidation of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources in 2013.

    The total amount of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland has shown a net decrease of 3% since 2012 (from 11,342 hectares in 2012 to 11,037 hectares in 2018). Excluding derelict mineral sites, the total amount of derelict and urban vacant land has decreased from 9,413 hectares in 2012 to 7,973 hectares in 2018 (15% decrease).

    Overall in Scotland 29.1% of the population were estimated to live within 500 metres of a derelict site, though there were differences across the country… 58% of people living in the most deprived decile in Scotland are estimated to live within 500 metres of derelict land, compared to 11% of people in the least deprived decile.

    109 hectares, 31% of the 350 hectares of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land brought back into use in 2018 involved some form of public funding, either a full or partial contribution.

    The statistics are used by the Scottish Government to help allocate and monitor the impact of the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (VDLF). The VDLF is one element of regeneration investment and aims to tackle long-term vacant and derelict land in Scotland. Its objectives are to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, promote environmental justice and improved quality of life, and to support communities to flourish and tackle inequalities.

    Day by day – piece by piece – The SNP Scottish Govt gently works away making improvements across the board – and prepares Scotland for the upcoming Indyref 2.


  3. Ludo Thierry April 25, 2019 / 4:21 pm

    Hi John – Hope you’re well and simply getting in a wee bit of rest-time. Hope it’s OK to try and keep a bit of conversation going in the meantime? – Beeb Scotland site are carrying report of the National Registrar for Scotland’s new population stats. Note that Scotland has now managed NINE consecutive years of population growth. Now, I wonder whether, over all these years, the SNP Scottish Govt focussing on the needs, hopes and ambitions of ALL Scotland’s people might just have been a factor? Migration is the generator producing the New Scots who are making their home and lives here with us and bringing their skills and energy with them . This is enabling the Scottish economy and public services to be maintained and improved. These New Scots are choosing Scotland – and the welcoming attitude of SNP Scottish Govt is surely an important part of the story? The potential risk for the Westminster/Whitehall brexit to derail this virtuous circle is massive. Link and snippets below:


    Scotland’s population has risen to a record high of 5.44 million – despite population growth slowing down.

    This is the ninth year in a row that the total has gone up, according to statistics from the National Registrar for Scotland.

    The number of people living in Scotland rose by 13,300 (0.2%) over the year to 30 June 2018.

    The increase was driven by migration, which was responsible for an increase of 20,900 in the country’s population.

    A total of 10,000 more people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK than left in the opposite direction, and there was an increase of 10,900 in net migration from overseas.

    The figures highlighted that Scotland’s population is getting older, with a 31% increase in the number of people aged over 75.

    Paul Lowe, registrar general for Scotland, said migration continued to be the main driver of Scotland’s population growth.

    He added: “We have seen a mixed picture regarding population growth, with 18 of Scotland’s council areas seeing an increase in population.


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