Thousands of baby deaths and no calls for Humza to go?

Surely, Humza Yousaf must resign. Thousands of dead babies in three health trusts. That must be due to confusing advice from the Scottish Government or cutbacks liked the ones Monica Lennon tells us about. Jeanne Freeman and Nicola Sturgeon had to go after one child death and a delay in construction:

Wait, ‘trusts’, not ‘boards’ Ah, the Guardian article didn’t mention NHS England. How bad is it. Should Hancock go, again?

But in recent years, horror stories have emerged of women and babies suffering dreadful maternity care in a number of NHS trusts. Bereaved parents and spouses have fought to be heard in the face of a culture of cover-up and medical professionals blaming mothers for the deaths of their babies. First, there was the inquiry into baby deaths at Morecambe Bay foundation trust, which came about as a result of the tireless campaigning of James Titcombe, whose baby died in its care. It found a “lethal mix” of failings caused the avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother. Last year, an interim report was published into baby and mother deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford; covering more than 1,800 cases over 20 years, it is one of the biggest ever NHS scandals.

It described how babies and mothers needlessly died or were left with profound disabilities as a result of terrible care; babies suffered fatal skull fractures as they were forced out using forceps, and women were left screaming in agony for hours as medics belittled their pain and told them they were “lazy”. An inquiry is currently underway into baby deaths at East Kent, and last week the Independent reported that dozens of babies had died or been left brain-damaged at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

That’s horrific. Surely the Health Secretary has to go?

Thy googling BBC hospital baby deaths and check on the first few links. See if you can find any mention of Matt Hancock:

Now try BBC hospital baby deaths Freeman

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Let them eat wallpaper paste

Composite image of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and partner Carrie Symonds in their refurbished flat
Picture: Rex/Reuters

As the PM’s partner lounges on her £9 800 sofa against £840 per roll wallpaper, Britain’s poor are thrown to the wolves.

From SNP Westminster Press Office :

SNP MPs have ramped up pressure on the Tory government to U-turn on their shameful decision to scrap the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift – which would come at the “worst possible time” for millions of people.

At DWP Questions in Westminster today, the party’s Work and Pensions spokesperson, David Linden MP, challenged Tory minister Will Quince to heed the warnings from cross-party MPs to make the uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits, to prevent struggling households from being pushed further into hardship.

The calls also follow a report from the Trussell Trust which found that around 700,000 families were forced to use a food bank in the year prior to the pandemic, and that a staggering 95% of people who had been referred to food banks in early 2020 were living in destitution with just £248 a month after housing costs.

Commenting, David Linden MP said:

“This UK Tory government is committed to cutting the £20-a-week Universal Credit at the worst possible time, coinciding with the withdrawal of the furlough scheme. The uplift has been a lifeline for many, therefore pulling this support would add to the hardship and difficulties facing many families.

“The Tory government must heed the warnings from charities and cross-party MPs, U-turn on their shameful decision, and instead commit to making the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits. 

“Instead of listening to these mounting concerns, the Tories are hell-bent on repeating the same devastating mistakes they made following the last economic crisis, with massive cuts pushing millions of people into poverty, entrenching inequality, and inflicting lasting scars on communities across Scotland and the UK.

“Westminster cannot be trusted with Scotland’s recovery. It’s clearer than ever that the only way to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country, with the full powers to invest in our economy and build the fairer society we all want to see.

“This pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities that exist under the broken Westminster system. The SNP government will continue to use the limited powers of devolution to mitigate the damage caused by Tory cuts where we can – but it is essential that once this crisis is over people in Scotland have the choice of a fairer future with independence.”



Notes:


£20 Universal Credit uplift set to end before the winter, Cabinet minister signals

Trussell Trust report

SNP Westminster Press Office

We’re doomed! We’re doomed, ah tell ye!

Private Frazer. We're doomed!! | Dad's army, Teaching math, Dads

By Alasdair Galloway

Letter to the Herald:

Over the last two days you have included letters by Douglas Cowe and Ian Lakin, concerning the possibility of independence. I might have said “critical of independence”, but criticism demands evidence, and both your correspondents include as much evidence for their assertions as Donald Trump has for his claims of voter fraud. Basically, both have argued that independence is doomed. One can almost hear Private Frazer telling us “we’re doomed, we’re doomed ah tell ye’”.

Mr Lakin dismisses the possibility of a successful independent Scotland with the claim that it would not be possible “without a currency, with massive debt and large fiscal deficit”. Yet, if we stay in the UK, what adjective would he apply to Westminster’s level of debt? And of course, the scale of any fiscal deficit is disputed, no matter how often Mr Lakin and others of his opinion may state this as a “fact”, supported only by a document which itself is clear that it is about Scotland “under present constitutional arrangements” (ie GERS).

He further claims there would be “a flight of capital”, but where would it go? Most of the rest of the world is hardly in a good economic place even now, however long before the Covid emergency ends. So too would there be a flight of people. Would this be to our neighbours in the south, whose economy is hardly likely to be much better and which will have just left the EU, perhaps without any sort of deal to manage future relations.

Mr Cowe claims, “when the chips are down, [Scotland] has to depend on the financial strength of the United Kingdom.” Where does Mr Cowe imagine the current Scottish Government would secure the necessary resources, when its funding comes mostly from the annual block grant (basically an estimate of what Westminster would have spent in Scotland on devolved matters). Big taxes such as National Insurance, Corporate Taxes (including oil tax revenues) and rates of VAT are reserved to Westminster. Most importantly however, Scotland has limited borrowing powers, so unlike Chancellor Sunak, Kate Forbes is not able to phone Andrew Baillie at the Bank of England and ask him for (quite) a few billion pounds. Considering this Mr Cowe, where is the money to come from?

Or is your point that an independent Scotland would be too wee, too poor ….. etc to be able to secure those resources. Let’s take Croatia where the 10-year yield on Croatian government bonds is just under zero-point eight percent. In Greece – remember that is how an independent Scotland would turn out, but without the sunshine – there it’s just over zero-point eight percent.

Debating the wisdom or otherwise of Scotland’s independence is an important matter, too important to start from a conclusion and then following up with no more than assertions.

Nazi dentist’s astonishing fabrication to suggest Scotland’s covid-19 performance ‘not very different’

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/michael-white-on-the-talent-and-energy-for-the-brexit-and-union-battles-1-6769564

In the New European, Michael White of the Guardian writes:

The painful fact is that both administrations look unimpressive from the outside and have done much in near lockstep during the pandemic, including the latest Spanish quarantine. Strip out England’s less populated regions along with the Highlands and Borders and the Covid casualty rates in dense urban areas and care homes won’t be very different.

Michael White on Labour's secret donor | Politics | The Guardian

As I rebut the same lie day-after-day, it feels like I’m batting back balls fired at me by a tennis machine but hey, you never know, I might correct the thinking of even just one more reader, if I keep going.

This time it’s Nazi dentist lookalike, Michael White, making the above outrageous comment. He has no actual evidence to offer of course and I suspect he’s still using, like Sky News’ Adam Boulton, the data from the first phase of the outbreak in March and April before the Scottish Government strategy kicked in.

So, once more the facts:

The ‘casualty rates’ after leaving the initial lock-step are very different:

https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/

Scotland had zero deaths in the last 14 days and had only six in the previous 14. England is on a plateau with 65.7 deaths, on average every day.

The ‘casualty rates’ for the whole outbreak are now very different too:

https://www.travellingtabby.com/uk-coronavirus-tracker/

After months of fast declining infection and deaths here, even the gap between Scotland and England’s total figures has widened too far to be ignored.

England has ten times the population so if performance was to be similar, the total number of cases and deaths would also be ten times higher but they are not, by any means.

Scotland has had 18 694 cases so if all things were equal, England would have had 186 940 but had 263 602, 41% higher.

Scotland has had 2 491 deaths so if all things were equal, England would have had 24 910 but has 41 598, 67% higher.

BBC Scotland’s Disclosure team urged to take leading academic’s advice before they make a bottom of themselves again

Talking-up Scotland

We may have caught them in time as there is no sign of this planned broadcast in the schedules for tonight.

Readers will know that the Disclosure team has a bit of a record of gaffs like the time they followed the wrong lorry full of calves all the way to Spain.

Anyhow, ‘The Care Home Scandal’ sounds a bit risky for them. I can see them listening to Jackson Carlaw and that private care home owner then blaming Jeane Freeman for all the deaths.

So, out of the kindness of my heart, Mark, here are the facts:

  • There is no evidence that the discharges from hospitals caused the care home outbreaks.
  • Public Health England and Jean Freeman confirmed that the main source of infection was the movement of agency staff.
  • The private care homes relied heavily on agency staff bused in from as far afield as Kent.
  • Judging…

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SNP Government success in suppressing covid-19 is very real but once more the Herald give space to these lies, from a Obituaries editor!

(c) Unherd.com

‘Andrew McKie is a political columnist for The Herald and former Obituaries editor of the Daily Telegraph.’

Described as a ‘Conservative voice‘ in David Torrance’s Whatever Happened to Tory Scotland (£0.99 in The Works, Ayr High Street), McKie is famous for his obituary of Roy Hudd, describing him as ‘a wide-ranging actor and comedian who was an expert on music hall and variety.’ Ah, I’m not going to read the full thing today. I’ll just deal with the headline which few will go beyond.

In the Herald today, he writes:

Opinion: Andrew McKie: There is no basis for arguments that Scotland has handled this crisis better

Oh, yes there is and it’s coming again below. McKie now joins Macwhirter, the FT and Murdo Fraser and a long line, including English liberals in the Guardian and the Independent, fighting desperately to stop Scots realising that their government HAS handled the crisis better.

I’ve rebutted numerous of these attacks so this will be easy.

Recent comments:

‘Scotland has much to be proud of in the way that the pandemic has been managed. I have no doubt that the death toll would have been greater without the unwavering support and close working relationship between the government and the clinical community.’

Dr Dr Stephen Cole, President of the Scottish Intensive Care Society

With death toll 6 times higher per capita than Scotland England is going too early: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/06/21/with-death-toll-6-times-higher-per-capita-than-scotland-england-is-going-too-early/

Edinburgh Professor contrasts disregard for life in UK Government’s ‘muddled’ strategy with Scotland’s clear plan to protect lives: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/06/11/edinburgh-professor-contrasts-disregard-for-life-in-uk-governments-muddled-strategy-with-scotlands-clear-plan-to-protect-lives/

Much much more from June 2nd:

How many times have I had to list this real evidence that the Scottsih Government HAS a better ‘covid record?’ So, once more:

The FT and Common Weal are just blinkered if they think these are just PR:

  1. Higher recovery rate
  2. Lower excess mortality rate
  3. Mortality among BAME groups is lower than in ‘white’ population
  4. Death rate in care homes is lower than in England
  5. Mortality among key workers is lower:
  6. Assessment centres protected GP surgeries
  7. Better staffing
  8. Cleaner hospitals
  9. Better Government leadership

Evidence (Facts, you know?) below:

  1. Higher recovery rate:

According to GlobalData Epidemiologist Bahram Hassanpourfard, the global recovery rate is 32%. Hassanpourfard drew attention to the ‘UK’ rate of only 0.46% but I suspect that is based on inadequate data coming from the ONS.

As far as I can see, the ONS is not recording recovery rates at all. Why?

https://www.citymetric.com/fabric/epidemiologist-update-uk-reports-notably-low-recovery-rate-5077

The Scottish recovery rate is known, with 9 075 recovering from 13 486 cases and 1 857 deaths giving a rate of 67.3%.

Scotland Coronavirus Tracker

Given that Scotland’s population has the lowest life expectancy in the UK and one of the lowest in Europe, it seems reasonable to give NHS Scotland credit for this.

2. Lower excess mortality rate:

The z-score is effectively the number of standard deviations the measurement is away from the expected value….

…At the height of the pandemic, the top five in terms of peak z-score were England 42.75 (Wk 15), Spain 34.41 (Wk 14), Belgium 29.91 (Wk 15), Italy 22.16 (Wk 14) and France 21.17 (Wk 14)….

…England is also the worst-performing country on these islands. The peak z-score was 19.71 for Wales (less than half that of England), 8.90 for NI, 7.03 for Scotland and 3.95 for Ireland all in week 15.

3. Mortality among BAME groups is lower:

Only 4% of the Scottish population is recorded as one of the non-White ethnic minority groups. 98% of the deaths are registered as White so, crudely and not-too-reliably at this stage, the mortality rate among non-White groups is lower at only 2% [p34].

https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/population-health/covid-19/covid-19-statistical-report/

4. Death rate in care homes is lower and typical of Europe

data from research by LSE, reported on May 14th in Care Home Professional:

More than 22,000 care home residents in England and Wales have died during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research. In a new paper, the LSE said data on deaths had underestimated the impact of the pandemic on care home residents as it did not take into account the indirect mortality effects of the pandemic and/or because of problems with the identification of the disease as the cause of death. The paper said current data only accounted for an estimated 41.6% of all excess deaths in care homes.

In Scotland, up to 17th May there were 1 623 deaths in care homes where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/covid19stats

The population of England and Wales is 59 million, 10.7 times that of Scotland at 5.5 million so, all things being equal you might expect the death rate to be 10.7 times 1 623 or 17 366.

The actual care home death rate based on the LSE research is more than 22 000 and thus higher than in Scotland.

The Scottish care home rate is, sadly, just typical of the international pattern:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/16/across-the-world-figures-reveal-horrific-covid-19-toll-of-care-home-deaths

5. Mortality among key workers is lower:

The latest ONS mortality statistics for England and Wales show that 237 health and care workers and 47 teachers have been killed by the coronavirus up to 23 April – deaths in the three weeks since are not included.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/datasets/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbyoccupationenglandandwales

In Scotland:

As at 5 May, we have been notified by Health Boards or the Care Inspectorate of 7 deaths of healthcare workers and 6 deaths of social care workers, related to COVID-19. We are not able to confirm how many of these staff contracted COVID-19 through their work. 

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-daily-data-for-scotland/

The UK has 12.6 times the population of Scotland so, pro rata, we might expect 12.6 times the deaths, 164, but it is 284.

6. Unique policy initiativesAssessment centres to protect GP surgeries

In a bid to alleviate the pressure on GP surgeries, as of Monday this week, NHS Boards across Scotland started to use a unique system for treating patients experiencing symptoms. Today they have 50 dedicated coronavirus assessment centres set up across the country.’

https://www.channel4.com/news/scotlands-nhs-using-unique-system-to-treat-coronavirus-patients

And from Glasgow Live:

The new Community Assessment Centres (CACs) will be appointment-only hubs which will maximise the number of symptomatic people who can be cared for within the community. It will ensure that hospital capacity is used for those with the most serious illnesses and reduce the exposure of patients at GP surgeries and allow GPs to focus on providing care to patients with other complex health issues. A central CAC has opened on Barr Street and is operational from 8am to 10pm, with a view to moving to 24/7 when necessary. Other centres are expected to open in the city soon.

https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/health-assessment-centre-dedicated-helping-17977595

7. Better staffing

Scotland has 50% more nurses per head of population than NHS England:

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/health-and-care/nhs/opinion/house-commons/110276/mohammad-yasin-mp-coronavirus-spreads-nhs

Scotland has the highest number of GPs per head of population in the UK, research commissioned by the BBC shows. Analysis by the Nuffield Trust think tank shows there are 76 GPs per 100,000 people, compared to a national UK average of 60.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-48191210

8. Cleaner hospitals

From Health Protection Scotland on 13th December:

The provisional total of laboratory reports for norovirus in Scotland up to the end of week 49 of 2019 (week ending 8 December 2019) is 798. In comparison, to the end of week 49 in 2018 HPS received 1367 laboratory reports of norovirus. The five-year average for the same time period between years 2013 and 2017 is 1385.

Sepsis deaths recorded in England’s hospitals have risen by more than a third in two years, according to data collected by a leading safety expert. In the year ending April 2017, there were 15,722 deaths in hospital or within 30 days of discharge, where sepsis was the leading cause.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45045438

From NHS England:

The NHS is calling on the public to heed advice and stay at home if they have norovirus to avoid passing it on, as hospitals in England have been forced to close more than 1,100 hospital beds over the last week.Top medics are concerned about the spread of the winter vomiting bug this year and the impact it is having on hospitals and other services.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2019/12/nhs-warning-as-winter-vomiting-bug-closes-1000-hospital-beds/

9. Better Government leadership

A special envoy to the World Health Organisation has said he is impressed with how Scotland is handling the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Dr David Nabarro said Nicola Sturgeon’s prudent approach to easing lockdown restrictions was a good policy.

He said he admired the approach by the Scottish Government and the public health authorities.

Nabarro, the World Health Organisation’s special envoy for Covid-19, told the BBC: “Comparing Scotland with other parts of Europe, other parts of the world, I’d say you’re doing good because you are tackling it carefully and logically. 

https://news.stv.tv/scotland/world-health-organisation-tells-scotland-you-are-doing-well?top

The chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee Dr Andrew Buist states:

Our NHS is changing, and at the forefront of that change is the primary care response. …..  There is a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership.”

https://news.gov.scot/news/support-for-gp-practices

NONE of the worst NHS scandals since devolution have been in Scotland

As BBC Scotland plan a campaign around the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital again, this is worth repeating.

Talking-up Scotland

In the Herald today:

‘Health secretary Jeanne Freeman has been accused of lying by the outgoing chief of a controversy-hit NHS board – while opponents have accused her of “playing politics with one of the worst NHS scandals since devolution”. Brian Houston, the former chairman of NHS Lothian, quit the organisation in January, citing “fundamental and irreconcilable” differences with Ms Freeman.’

First, the outgoing ‘chief’ of an NHS board responsible for an overdue new hospital build resigns and then when his boss criticises him, he has a hissy-fit. Methinks he doth etc…The Herald publishes it.

More expensive and longer hospital build delays in Liverpool and Midlands have triggered complaints against contractors and boards but politicians have not been accused of anything because, of course they weren’t responsible.

The ‘opponents’ accusing Freeman are, of course, members of the UK parties with small branches in Scotland. The Herald has a paywall so…

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Hors de Combat

The Rag-man's Bugle

sir-winston-churchill-396973_640

It is common knowledge that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is a great admirer of Winston Churchill. He has written a biography of the wartime leader, and it is reputed that his relentless drive to become leader of the Conservative Party, and thus PM, has grown out of a desire to emulate the great man.

Watching his daily press briefings during the current health crisis, I cannot help wondering whether, somewhere in his secret heart, Boris is relishing having a situation to manage which has been described as ‘the most serious since World War II.’

These thoughts were further stimulated by hearing his choice of metaphor in a recent broadcast: according to our national leader at Westminster, we are ‘at war’ with the virus.

Unfortunately, Boris’ rhetorical style does not match up to that of his erstwhile hero. Instead of a clear and measured delivery, our PM provides…

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