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Wings Over Scotland

Regular context update

Posted on July 29, 2018 by

Large sections of the Scottish media today trot out Variant #26 of the fortnightly “NHS SCOTLAND CRISIS!” story, namely the targets for A&E waiting times. The BBC, for example, goes with this:

While the Sunday Mail runs a remarkably similar piece except with more Anas Sarwar.

And that’s all fair enough – it’s a legitimate news story. But what’s really odd about it is that both of the articles leave out what you might imagine would be a rather crucial piece of information.

Because if you’re writing about missing a target of 95%, readers would quite probably expect that you’d find room somewhere to mention what figure actually WAS being reached. And yet neither article does.

The BBC’s doesn’t mention any statistics at all beyond the headline one, while the Sunday Mail sets alarm bells ringing by plucking out a few random ones without any frame of reference, for example:

Readers are given nothing to judge those figures by. Are 95 and 17 high numbers for those stats? Are they bigger than last month, or last year? 95 and 17 out of how many? Is it a high percentage? Is it going up or going down? Those are just some of the questions that the BBC and the Mail don’t trouble people with the answers to.

And it’s not like it’s hard to find out. The tables are right up at the top of the front page of the ISD Scotland website, the repository for all NHS Scotland data.

Click the links and you’ll find out that the 95 unfortunate souls who had to wait over 8 hours to be treated represented just 0.4% of over 26,000 patients who turned up at Scottish A&Es that week, and the 17 poor sods who had to hang around for half a day made up just 0.065%.

You’ll discover that in fact 92.4% of A&E attendances that week were seen, assessed and treated within the four-hour target – just 2.6% short – and 99.93% were dealt with in under 12 hours.

(It may be worth noting at this point that those figures are achieved despite hundreds of thousands of people every year clogging up A&E units with minor ailments like insect bites, sprains and babies crying, or just for company.)

That’s almost certainly still the best performance anywhere in the UK, but we can’t state that for certain because NHS England is under such enormous strain it’s stopped calculating the figures altogether until next spring.

Which will helpfully get it past the winter, which tends to be the NHS’s most busy period because of things like major flu outbreaks, of the sort which hammered waiting-time stats all across the UK last year.

We’re not sure why the Scottish media doesn’t think you’d want to know that.

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    1. 29 07 18 18:56

      Regular context update | speymouth

    41 to “Regular context update”

    1. John Moss says:

      Click the links and you’ll find out that the 95 unfortunate souls who had to wait over 8 hours to be treated represented just 0.4% of over 26,000 patients who turned up at Scottish A&Es that week, and the 17 poor sods who had to hang around for half a day made up just 0.065%.

      Somehow I think that’s a wide exaggeration and I honestly don;t think that you’ll ever get a job in the media with a claim like that. Even if you had something to back up your absurd observation, it’s just not newsworthy. And it’s the news that counts.

      Stick to writing your blog and leave journalism to the professionals. They know what they’re doing….

    2. naina tal says:

      State of this!

    3. Dan Huil says:

      It’s the bbc and British nationalist “journalists” who are sick.

    4. KathyT says:

      John Moss, that’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen posted in a very, very long time. :-/

    5. One_Scot says:

      Okay, who stood on it and dragged it all over the carpet?

    6. Legerwood says:

      This is from the BBC News-Scotland “”The Scottish government’s benchmark for 95% of A&E patients to be either admitted, transferred or discharged in four hours was last met in the week ending 30 July 2017.””

      I saw that earlier today and saw red not least because of the near complete lack of information in the article so I went off and checked through the Information published by ISD Scotland.

      The weekly figure quoted by the BBC and others may only true if you look at the WEEKLY figures BUT it is not true if you look at what tends to be the more accurate monthly figures for A&E waiting times.

      In the month ending 30th June 2017 the figure was 95.5%
      In the month ending 31st July 2017 the figure was 95.7%.
      In the month ending 31st August 2017 the figure was 95%

      From September 2017 to November 2017 the figures ranged from 93.3% to 94.4% per month.

      From Dec 2017 up to and including May 2018, the last month for which monthly figures are available, the percentage of patients seen and treated within the 4 hour deadline ranged from 85.1% in Dec 2017 to 93.1% in May 2018. Remember those months include the flu outbreak, lots of freezing weather and the Beast from the East.

      The monthly figure for May 2017 was 94% .
      Therefore for the year from May 2017 to May 2018 there were 3 months – June, July and August 2017 – when the figures were 95% or better.
      During the year May 2017-18 the total number of visits per month from May 2017 to May 2018 ranged from 121,676 to 153,090.

      The percentage of patients waiting up to 8 hours ranged from 0.2% to 2.6% – the latter figure was in January 2018.

      The percentage of patients waiting 12 hours ranged from less than 0.1% to 0.8%, again the highest figure was from Jan 2018.

      So quite a different picture from the one the BBC and others are trying to paint

      The figures come from the Information Services Division (Scotland). Although A&E FIGURES are published weekly the monthly figures are usually more accurate because they include and delayed or adjusted figures.

    7. pool9 says:

      That’s right John, journalists do know what they’re doing, which is why this site exists – to highlight their many failures as a profession.

      But you go on and think links to where you can find the actual data sets are a wide exaggeration. I’m very swayed by your thoughts. Thank you for your excellent contribution.

    8. Ken500 says:

      Just more lies about the NHS. MSM. Why do they bother? Everyone knows how good it is because they use it and support it. More MSM lies. Scotland better than elsewhere. It could be even better if Westminster liars did not take £Billions out of Scotland. Illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion. Westminster total mismanagement.

      Another lying Tory. Lying on TV. Total hypocrites. They even go red as they lie. What an embarrassment. Chloe Smith.

      Another GE soon.

    9. Dr Jim says:

      @John Moss 6.20pm

      Are actual figures and statistics not considered journalism where you come from John or is it more about what you *think* as opposed to what is, or could it be you’d just like Scotland to shut up and go away and let the liars and thieves say and take what they want without reply

      Free speech too much for you, bit like the BBC eh

    10. Breeks says:

      John Moss says:
      29 July, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      … Stick to writing your blog and leave journalism to the professionals. They know what they’re doing…

      Aye. It’s because Rev Stu writes this blog that we know that they’re doing too.

    11. Gary45% says:

      Cheers Stu,
      This is one of the million reasons WoS is the thorn in the backside of the establishment.
      WoS = We stand together never divided.

      Pool9@6.35 Spot on.

    12. galamcennalath says:

      Scottish MSM’s motto … “Never let facts and figures get in the way of a good opportunity to generate some propaganda!”

      Rather than outright lies, the pattern in their ‘news’ reporting is omission, superficial coverage, lack of backup facts, inaccurate figures, lack of context, no references to sources …. basicallly just really crap journalism!

      However, quality journalism, critical analysis, and accurate stories are the absolute last thing on their minds!

    13. Arthur thomson says:

      And there was I thinking that John Moss was being ironic. Surely!

    14. TheBuchanLoony says:

      I really think the Scottish Government should just announce that the target is 100%. Setting any target any lower gives the MSM the opportunity infer some sort of failure in SNHS services when in fact they are consistently delivering the highest UK level of services possible in varying condition throughout the year. Everybody knows that 100% is the real target and they also know that it is in reality impossible to achieve. The BBC and MSM would then have no imaginary benchmark for their regular Scotland bad propaganda.

    15. Robert Peffers says:

      @John Moss says: 29 July, 2018 at 6:20 pm:

      “Click the links and you’ll find out that the 95 unfortunate souls who had to wait over 8 hours to be treated represented just 0.4% of over 26,000 patients who turned up at Scottish A&Es that week, and the 17 poor sods who had to hang around for half a day made up just 0.065%.”

      Thank you, John for the good laugh. I appreciate your wry humour and really needed a good laugh.

    16. pool9 says:

      That would be nice Arthur! If it was, it was too dry for my irony radar to pick up!

    17. Legerwood says:

      It must be morale sapping for those who work in the NHS, and those who collate and publish full data sets on all aspects of NHS Scotland, to see their efforts being misrepresented by politicians and media using very selective sections of the statistics.

      This happens on an almost weekly basis.

    18. Tom Halliday says:

      Scot gov just need to say SNHS targets are to be at least 5% better than Englands.

    19. Andy-B says:

      More negative propaganda from the BBC et al in the hope of showing our NHS in a bad light.

      Knowing fine well its the star of NHS’s on these islands. The English NHS must be in a right state if it stopped producing figures on the 4hr A&E waiting times.

      They’re becoming more desperate by the day to put Scotland down.

    20. galamcennalath says:

      WoS seems to be getting plagued by a particular style of trolling. Actually something much more akin to classic trolling.

      As short statement of false info or dubious opinion which then gets about ten replies.

      Disruption in the flow of the thread and deflection from the main topic is the objective.

    21. Legerwood says:

      galamcennalath says:
      29 July, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      In this case it is not so much disrupting the thread but preventing it from even getting started. That is disappointing given the subject matter of the post

    22. Robert Peffers says:

      Let’s get a couple of things in the correct perspective, shall we?

      Before we go any further let’s consider that last Winter saw exceptional lengthy periods of snow on the ground and this Summer has been exceptional.

      So exceptional in fact, that the same, “professional journalists”, with their fake news today were reporting yesterday the statements of a medical person that the Scottish habit in sunshine of, “taps aff”, needed to stop. He stated to those professionals that the SNHS had been struggling to cope with an avalanche of problems caused by Sun burn, heat stroke, respiration and allergic reactions and that hot weather affected heart and stroke attacks as well as all the cases of severe Sunburn.

      Another report was warning that the careless applications of Sun Screen creams was been casing grave problems too and more hospital admissions. But, of course the fake news professionals don’t want you to know that.

      Are they so bloody idiotic that they forgot they reported increased problems from the exceptional weather conditions the previous day and then produced that idiocy reported above by The Rev Stu Campbell, (Who, to the best of my knowledge, was earing a crust as a Computer Games journalist before his present successful journalistic career on Wings).

    23. Truth says:

      A plea to the soft no voters.

      If you tolerate this your children will literally be next.

      Please help us break the cycle. You are being lied to on this. Ask yourself what else are they lying to you about?

      Scotland is more than capable of making a success where Westminster fails.

    24. sinky says:

      Finally persuaded family relations to cancel BBC licence fee

    25. Douglas gourlay says:

      So if proindepence sites can’t reproduce bbc content, then nor can anyone else. Good luck YouTube and bbc. Go stop that and, if you don’t, explain why.

    26. Jimbo says:

      @John Moss You’ve never been the same since Culture Club split up.

    27. Petra says:

      No mention either by the BBC (or others) that the 4 hour waiting time target system is different in England. Ours in Scotland relates to being seen and settled, in a hospital bed or by being sent home following treatment. In England it relates to being “seen” by a doctor or specialist only.


      BBC Scotland ran with the story tonight, but surprise, surprise ended by saying that “the Scottish NHS had outperformed the rest of the country over the last three years.” Looks as though someone is putting the wind up them.


      I then watched Countryside on BBC 1. It was ALL about beautiful Devon, butterflies and deprived kids at camp having a great time etc, until they decided to discuss the horrors of ticks and Lyme disease. Brain / nerve damage / death and so on. Then they relocated to Scotland and interviewed a few people who surprisingly, for a change, didn’t have an English accent. I found it all a bit strange, and off-putting for tourists, so I checked to see if Lyme disease is extinct in Devon, but no seemingly it’s on the rise there. All that time and money spent in heading north to report on something that existed on their doorstep. The BBC must think that we all came up the Clyde on a bike.

    28. Golfnut says:

      The John Moss comment read to me as sarcasm, the kind of comment a britnat propagandist might make regarding WOS. That’s how I read it, and found it quite funny.

    29. Arthur thomson says:

      My apologies to anyone who thinks I was disrupting the thread. It wasn’t my intention.

      The Scottish NHS has performed brilliantly. The media who are choosing to distort the picture are without conscience.

    30. Dorothy Devine says:

      John Moss is quite right , the “professional” journalists of Scotland know precisely what they are doing and they are doing it deliberately.

      I wonder what they will all do when Scotland reaches independence .

      Do they all have bolt holes in Tuscany or elsewhere?

    31. twathater says:

      MY MY the Bullshitting Bias Corporation’s shenanigans appears to have emboldened the bacon rolls , they have maybe experienced an increase in their testosterone and feel they can crawl out from under their stones , as any cowardly bully knows wait till the big guy weakens the opponent then pile on for the kill

      Bad news for the cowardly bacon rolls Stu doesn’t weaken , your pish and vinegar only makes him more determined to expose the corruption of your maisters , and he has an army of support , so your dark slimey stones are awaiting your return

    32. Proud Cybernat says:

      (It may be worth noting at this point that those figures are achieved despite hundreds of thousands of people every year clogging up A&E units with minor ailments like insect bites, sprains and babies crying)

      …and the BBC submitting shit-mining FOI requests that take up valuable SNHS resources so that they can try to blacken the record of the Scottish Government (oh – that’s the SNP Gov, just in case you were wondering, BBC).

    33. Meg merrilees says:


      It’s all part of the scare theory. They want as many angles on the ‘Scotland is unsafe’ as they can legitimately get away with – A&E is failing; Lyme’s disease; shutting public toilets on the C500 route … get the drift?

    34. Sarwar who prefers to send his children to a fee paying school, and the outrageously fake effete Cole Hamilton get to the nub of the problem.
      It is all the SNP’s fault.
      Sturgeon the surgeon, should spend more time operating on drunks in A&E, getting on with the ‘day job’, than running the country?
      These two chancers in particular represent the weedy snide little nobodies who would lash us to SS Engwaland’s hull as it ploughs Westward into the Wilderness and US vassal statehood.
      They do it for money and power.
      They don’t give a fuck about Scotland, the people, or our precious NHS. It is just another baseball bat to whack the SNP. That’s how base and insincere they are.
      There is more intellect and ability under Sturgeon’s finger nails after a day’s gardening than these two evil little men have in their whole bodies.
      I’m seventy, I use our NHS frequently. My experience is that our publicly owned NHS and the staff are brilliant.
      Cole Hamilton and Sarwar will not be missed in Independent Scotland.
      We shall remember, guys. We shall indeed.

    35. Fred says:

      Petra, also watched that Countryfile programme. The strawberry grower featured made no mention of soft fruit being left to rot due to a shortage of East Euro pickers. Mebbes just a Scottish problem?

    36. Legerwood says:

      Fred says:
      29 July, 2018 at 10:10 pm
      “”Petra, also watched that Countryfile programme. The strawberry grower featured made no mention of soft fruit being left to rot due to a shortage of East Euro pickers. Mebbes just a Scottish problem?””

      I saw that item too and listened carefully to see if there was any mention of the loss of EU workers. I thought when they interviewed some of the workers who were from places such as Bulgaria it would have been the natural place to raise the subject, but no. And no mention of the issue of migrant workers in the rest of the piece.

      My take on it was that nothing should be allowed to intrude on their, the BBC’s that is, bucolic view of the countryside – or any suggestion made that there were, or would be, any problems with food supply due to Brexit.

      Even if it had featured a Scottish grower the approach would have been the same.

    37. Derek says:

      “Spending time in A&E” isn’t necessarily the same as waiting-to-be-seen times. Folks that have eaten/drunk can’t sometimes* be operated on for a while.

      *Despite having been operated on more than once, I don’t know the correlation. Apologies…

    38. Legerwood says:

      Derek @ 2.19am

      If you have recently eaten then being given a general anaesthetic runs the risk that you might vomit and choke on your vomit. Hence the rule no food or drink before an op and if you have had something to eat or drink then a delay to allow you to digest the food before operating.

    39. Bill McLean says:

      “Mad nationalist” poses as GWC2 on Scot goes Pop – ignore the idiot!

    40. The SNP should just state we will do our best with the money we get from Westminster no targets what’s so ever just do your best no one could ask for more

    41. Ken MacColl says:

      I cannot really comment on the Sunday Mail as I stopped reading it when Rex Kingsley was their head honcho on the back pages. As it is the sister publication to the Daily Wrecker it would not be too difficult to see where they are coming from.
      The folk at Pacific Quay do appear to carry out a running vendetta with NHS Scotland- always ready to give prominence to any negative reportage and demonstrably reluctant to give the service, at a time of continuing Tory austerity, any credit for bettering the performance of health providers elsewhere in the UK. It is not surprising that the NHS in the South is reluctant to publish comparable waiting time statistics.After all they too face similar funding problems and an even greater reliance on EU based staff and that source’s reluctance to join the prospect of the lemmings flight across the White Cliffs as Mrs May swithers and dithers at theside of the Italian Lakes.

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