Exploitation of the sick to undermine the SNP Government: Reporting Scotland’s dysfunctional health correspondence

‘Two life-changing cystic fibrosis drugs are rejected for routine use by the NHS in Scotland because of their cost.’

At 6.30pm yesterday, the headline and the opening statement are simplified for tabloid impact, incomplete, and thus inaccurate. The drugs have not been rejected in an absolute sense at all, as the screen message implies, but only for routine use. The drugs have not been rejected because of their cost but because there was insufficient evidence of their effectiveness.

The report then allows a single parent to express disappointment before telling us:

Two cystic fibrosis medicines that are described as lifechanging by campaigners will not be made routinely available on the NHS in Scotland. The Scottish Medicines Consortium that recommends which drugs should be funded said it had heard powerful testimonies about the potential benefits of Orkambi and Symkevi (?) but said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify the costs of the medicines.

What ‘routinely available’ actually means is not explained nor are the SMC allowed to explain their decision. STV do allow that. Might we not expect such a group to have an evidence-based argument for their decision to balance the understandably emotional accounts of one or two parents? Surely, we could be told just what ‘insufficient evidence’ means?

In their place we get an extended single case with Lisa Summers then we meet a group of campaigners then we get an interview with one campaigner.

In total we have six excerpts with unqualified parents and campaigners or reporters using their words (‘lifechanging’) against two from medics, short and unemphasised, but none actually with qualified medics. Where is the balance that journalists love to talk of?

After a quick mention of the cost of the drugs, Lisa finishes with:

Historically people with cystic fibrosis can face a considerably shortened life. Treatments like this give hope that the condition will be halted while the hunt goes on to find a cure.

This rounds off a report which began with emotional drama and lies, which had four unqualified sources and no medical ones, and which referred to lack of evidence for the drugs and the (enormous) cost of the drugs, only quickly in passing.

Readers might remember Reporting Scotland disgracefully describing NHS Tayside’s Oncology department as ‘dysfunctional’ when no one else had done so, only to discover, too late, a St Andrews professor who disproved the notion. Once again Reporting Scotland are prepared to exploit any personal trauma in an attempt to politicise it.

Dysfunctional Reporting Scotland dabble in complex cancer treatment and cause damaging patient anxiety

‘Dysfunctional’ NHS Tayside fights back as BBC Scotland fiddle with their vocabulary to fool you

Why does Reporting Scotland’s ‘dysfunctional’ breast cancer department have ‘average’ death rate?

Reporting Scotland ‘detectives’ think they’ve found a ‘dysfunctional department.’ They have.



7 thoughts on “Exploitation of the sick to undermine the SNP Government: Reporting Scotland’s dysfunctional health correspondence

  1. John August 13, 2019 / 6:01 am

    Same pounding on GMS , no balance at all , maybe we will have an expert on this morning to explain why it was refused, but I will not be holding my breath ! .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Legerwood August 13, 2019 / 11:39 am

    The BBC had, as usual, a fuller report on its news website and, as usual, if you read down far enough you find this from Ms Freeman, Health Secretary in the SG, “”She [Ms Freeman] said a “considerable number” of Scottish patients have access to Orkambi and Symkevi through the Peer Approved Clinical System Tier 2 (PACS Tier 2), which allows doctors to apply for access on behalf of individual patients.”

    You also find that talks with the company producing the drugs are ongoing.

    Read right to the end and you find the drugs are not available in NHS England either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald August 13, 2019 / 7:44 pm

      One radio report I heard had an interview with a parent or campaigner who welcomed the actions of the Scottish Government and its efforts to find a way through this complex issue. I notice that a couple of the papers ran almost the identical line.

      We must always remember that Lisa Summers is the one who devoted a day’s reporting to the made up testimony of two fascists claiming to have complained about the pigeon droppings at the QEUH. Once the identity of the ‘patient and his partner’ were made known via social media, the story vanished from the BBC and ahs never been mentioned and, more importantly, never admitted nor apologised for.


  3. Brian Powell August 13, 2019 / 12:58 pm

    ‘BBC extremists sabotaging Scotland’s Health Service. Cells of extremists, funded by a foreign government, launch daily attacks on staff and patients across Scotland’.

    Liked by 1 person

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