‘Never mind the quality feel the money’ says trade union for doctors then lies about performance

BBC Scotland ‘News’ react to the Ofcom report showing a massive loss of viewers and STV News being better respected, with one of their trademark NHS Scotland scare stories based on insubstantial biased research by a trade union.

Referring to a trade union as ‘leading doctors’ we heard:

Doctors have warned that Scotland needs to increase spending on the NHS by up to £3bn a year to bring it into line with other similar EU countries.It blames a lack of investment for missed targets, staff shortages and low morale.

This is an astonishing set of lies about the performance and the condition of NHS Scotland turned uncritically into a supposed news report by BBC Scotland.

  1. Targets

While some incredibly ambitious targets are missed, many are achieved and go unreported:

NHS Scotland’s astonishing performance in completing operations on time

NHS waiting lists nearly FOUR times longer in England than in Scotland

NHS Scotland A&E performance 11% better than NHS England

Already better-staffed NHS Scotland doctor training meeting recruitment targets

Nearly 95% of Scottish confirmed cancer patients start treatment within 31-day target

2.5% more children seen by mental health services within target time despite more than 12% increase in demand

LATEST: 96.1% of Lymphoma blood cancer cases treated within target time

As Reporting Scotland look the other way, NHS Scotland smashes MMR target for 10th year!

NHS Scotland hits 31 day cancer waiting time target for third time in a row despite massive demand

Psychology waiting times hold constant and close to target despite increased demand

Target smashed as NHS Scotland makes massive improvement in aneurysm screening and surgery

Waiting time targets for drug and alcohol treatment smashed in NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland beats 95% target for cancer treatment despite 6.6% increase in demand

Should BBC Scotland’s Graham Stewart resign as state broadcaster misses 100% success in critical NHS target performance?

  • Staffing

There is no staffing crisis in NHS Scotland:

Already better-staffed NHS Scotland doctor training meeting recruitment targets

As NHS England is pulled into ethnic nationalist self-destruction why there is no Scottish crisis in nurse staffing

Scotland’s nursing and midwifery staffing and student recruitment are Miles better!

SHOCK Scotland has far more staff including consultants and GPs per head of population

Radiography staffing vacancies running at ‘healthy’ 5% in Scotland

NHS Psychology staffing soars nearly 40% under SNP

10% of the population yet 13.2% of the paediatricians: why the health of Scotland’s children is NOT being put at risk by staff shortages 

Labour’s Neil Findlay exposes increased GP staffing across almost all of Scotland

As Tory-run NHS England loses staff in record numbers, SNP-run NHS Scotland is in surplus for sixth year in a row

  • Morale

The BMA and the BBC have no hard evidence of low morale in NHS Scotland, only shoddy unreliable, self-selecting samples of those predisposed to moan. There is hard evidence of the exact opposite:

Scottish GPs: Most satisfied and least stressed in the UK and possibly the world

  • Expenditure

Expenditure is not the only, not even a reliable, measure of the quality of a health system. We hear that Austria and Belgium spend more but nothing of their performance. The graph below shows that the USA spends the most, yet life expectancy is lower. As for Belgium and Austria, life expectancy is little different. It’s clear also from the graph that after a certain point, extra investment yields diminishing returns.


We’ve known for some time that what really matters once you have a reasonable level of investment is how well the system is run. See this:

Scotland has a unique system of improving the quality of health care. It focuses on engaging the altruistic professional motivations of frontline staff to do better and building their skills to improve. Success is defined based on specific measurements of safety and effectiveness that make sense to clinicians. There is much for the other countries of the UK to learn from this…Scotland has a longer history of drives towards making different parts of the health and social care system work together. It has used legislation to get these efforts underway while recognising that ultimately local relationships are the deciding factor. There is much for England and Wales to learn from this.

Research Report, July 2017, Learning from Scotland’s NHS at: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf


7 thoughts on “‘Never mind the quality feel the money’ says trade union for doctors then lies about performance

  1. Indy Chas August 9, 2019 / 10:28 am

    If Ofcom did a proper job they would cite your articles then fine BBC £300m (Scotland’s funding) for broadcasting propaganda. They should also declare broadcasting to be the responsibility of the Sottish Government under independent management. RT seems to get fined yet I find them less biased than BBC.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gerry Robertson August 9, 2019 / 10:36 am

    Yes thanks again John I suspected as much when I saw the BBC headline. For what its worth as far as the US is concerned and the very real prospect we shall be following suit if Boris and Co get their way apparently Americans (for those that can afford them) pay far more for essential medication/drugs than rWorld down to corrupt Drug/Insurance cartels determining pricing. Moreover I understand £80m of the £90m figure banded about on the BBC used in relation for any remedial works for the new Edin SC hospital has nothing whatsoever to do with that. Fake BBC news.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Robert Graham August 9, 2019 / 10:41 am

    Every clip showing RT on u/tube comes with a warning that its funded by the Russian Government , I have often wondered why this BBC outfit is never challenged to do the same because they are openly funded by the English Government with money extracted upon fear of prosecution ,at least the Ruskies don’t threaten JAIL TIME .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Alasdair Macdonald August 9, 2019 / 11:03 am

    I heard about the BMA claim via Good Morning Scotland, which introduced it with an interview with Pennie Taylor, who has a lot of experience on reporting medical matters. (Bias alert – she lives fairly near me and we exchange smiles and greetings and have the occasional chat!) Ms Taylor deconstructed the BMA statement in the way a professional journalist should do and made many of the points which Professor Robertson makes. She pointed out immediately that this was the ‘doctor’s trade union’ and set the issue in context – hospitals only provide a very small proportion (10%) of services to the public, but receive a disproportionately higher proportion of spending. She pointed out that this claim is a sectional interest in attempting to stake a pre-emptive claim on additional funding, at the expense of other services.

    Later in the programme, Gillian Marles (who had interviewed Ms Taylor) interviewed the BMA ‘shop steward’ (he had a fancier high falutin title, implying a higher noble calling). She used what Ms Taylor had said to tackle his assertions and forced him to defend his sectional interest (i.e. selfish) claim.

    On the whole, I was impressed! I thought, like you, that it was responding to the OfCom report and was doing genuine journalism.

    But, judging by your posting, old habits die hard elsewhere within the BBC, alas!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ludo Thierry August 9, 2019 / 4:42 pm

    Hi Alasdair – It pains me somewhat to say it – but I have to agree absolutely with your comment. I too heard Pennie Taylor’s interview and thought she sounded knowledgeable, calm and measured in her statements. I felt at one point she was being invited to say “Ess Enn Peee Baad” and ignored the bait. I believe she is no longer an official ‘BBC person’ but they use her to make observations still – on today’s evidence I wish they’d use her a whole lot more.

    I also heard the BMA chap (most of interview) and felt he too had side-stepped an invitation to directly criticise the SNP Scottish Govt.

    In short – I picked up the strong impression GMS editors had set up the usual daily dose of (official State broadcaster message) ‘Scottish Public Services are rubbish – Ess Enn Pee Baad’ and had, distinctly, missed the target this morning. Was it just a random chance – or might some of the important players in the professional bodies and commentariat be offering mildly more guarded comments now than was the case even very recently? Perhaps recent polls and the ongoing craziness evident among the Westminster/Whitehall elites is making even these people hedge their bets ever so slightly?

    I fully realise one swallow doesn’t make a Summer – but I’m grasping any positive signs noted in the deep gloom of broadcast media. We’re going to have to live with msm through Indyref 2 when it comes – so any improvements – however tiny – are welcomed by this particular sojer. (I follow a ‘slice by slice if required’ philosophy – it helps me remain focussed I believe).


  6. Legerwood August 9, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    I find it odd that the BMA criticises health facilities and calls for an increase in annual expenditure. There are new hospitals being built across Scotland and existing, often relatively new facilities, are being upgraded and/or extended. For example, The Balfor hospital in Kirkwall is opening this year and will bring the various health facilities distributed around Kirkwall under the one location and extend the facilities on offer thus reducing trips to the mainland for tests etc. The hospital also won a silver medal in an international competition. “”NHS Orkney’s new healthcare facility has been hailed as among the world’s best at a leading award ceremony.​ The Balfour, as the facility will be known when it opens in 2019, has won silver in the best healthcare project category at the Partnership Awards in London.​
    There were six finalists from all over the world with the Orkney facility pipped to the post by the Gaziantep IHC PPP Project, Turkey.​”” from NHS Orkney web site.

    Forth Valley Royal Hospital has just installed a second MRI scanner, the number of operating theatres are being increased from 14 to 16 with a concomitant increase in the number of beds to cope with the increased throughput of patients when the new operating theatres come on-stream.

    The Scottish Government has increased the number of trainee nurses and midwives every year since 2012 and have run a successful project to get qualified nurses and midwives back into hospitals. The SG has also increased the number of places in medical schools and increased places for GPs. Specialit Training places for doctors have a much higher fill rate than in NHS England

    No doubt people can add more examples.

    It would have been nice if the BMA had acknowledged that but not surprising that they did not. However, comparing, unfavorably, Scotland’s NHS spend to EU countries such as Austria and Belgium was a clear mis-step. They are independent countries!

    I shall leave you with this from the Evening Times



  7. annraynet August 13, 2019 / 9:35 pm

    Thank goodness for a few hospitals having local names that relate to where they are, rather than the ‘Royal’ this or the ‘Queen’ whowever.


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