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The provision of context

Posted on January 16, 2018 by

We’ve commented quite a few times in recent months about the Scottish media’s habit of running statistical stories rendered meaningless by the absence of any context.

The reasons for this aren’t necessarily sinister – sometimes journalists are just lazy or the full stats are hard to establish because like-for-like figures aren’t published – but usually it’s just a way to get an SNP BAD story out of isolated numbers which, if the full picture was presented, would render that impossible.

The above story from STV News today contains no furious rentaquotes from Labour or the Tories (at least not yet), so we should place it in the former category. Nevertheless, we do feel it’s our duty in a general sense to provide readers with the information that the Scottish media can’t be bothered to, so let’s do that.

The piece identifies payouts (including legal costs) for medical negligence by NHS Scotland of £353m over the past 10 years, which alert readers will have observed is an average of £35.3m a year.

Other than pointing out that the annual sums are increasing, however, the article gives us no means of discerning whether that figure is unusually high, atypically low, or about average. So we have to look to the nearest comparable health service – NHS England – to try to get some sort of idea.

England’s population is almost exactly 10 times that of Scotland, so we could quite reasonably expect an English annual average of somewhere around the same as the Scottish figure for the decade, ie £353m.

What we actually find is that the average since 2008 is slightly over £1 billion – more than two and a half times the amount negligence costs in Scotland, per capita.

The 2016/17 figure was £1.71bn – a 15% increase on the previous year, and more than 45 times the NHS Scotland equivalent figure of £38.3m for the same period, ie four-and-a-half times higher in relative terms.

For NHS Wales the average from 2008-2016 was approximately £56.4m a year. If Scotland’s population was the same as that of Wales – ie 40% smaller – the Scottish figure would be £21m, so again negligence is costing NHS Wales about two and a half times as much per head as Scotland.

The real average for Wales is probably around £2bn higher, as 2016-17 isn’t included in the calculation but is likely to be around the same level as 2015-16.

For simplicity, that would make the per-head-per-year costs of negligence:

NHS Wales: £18.84
NHS England: £18.27
NHS Scotland: £6.60

Readers are now in possession of the full facts, and can consider them accordingly.

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  1. 16 01 18 11:56

    The provision of context | speymouth

117 to “The provision of context”

  1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    The multiplier or divider of 10 seems to very popular in the MSM.

    Maybe to do with lack of batteries for their calculator, so it is easy to work in mental arithmetic or the familiarity they derive from having 10 fingers (allegedly so)

  2. Bob Mack says:

    May I also add that much of this provision is to pay solicitors fees which in a long running Health case can be very substantial indeed. Some cases take years of litigation.
    The BMA are not great ones for letting doctors admit liability.
    This involves expert opinions with some costing hundreds of pounds a time. It seems a lot of money ,but actually because of due process it becomes more expensive to litigate.

  3. Hamish100 says:

    Maybe STV could also identify the costs of claims to private health care providers for botched medical interventions such as hip jobs, blotox, boob jobs etc.

    Who pays the NHS for the follow up interventions when they get it wrong such as the 999 ambulance, costs of repairing the damage including mental health services. The private insurer doesn’t pay up nor does the private healthcare hospital.

    Of course lazy journalists call their research FOI requests.
    Private companies can hide but we still pay.

  4. Ken MacColl says:

    There is only one possible conclusion to be made after reading the above and it is one that most of us are all too well aware of.
    We must be served by the lost unreliable second rate broadcast and print media in the Western world.
    What to do?

  5. Marcia says:

    If Scotland is 8% of the UK population then the multiplier would be 12 and a half which suggest Scotland’s Health Service figures are not too had at all.

  6. Arabs for Independence says:

    Thank you for providing this additional piece of factual information that, as you rightly say, nobody else can be bothered to do.

    This sort of info provided by WoS kills off any negative spin that was intended.

    Great work

  7. Graeme McCormick says:

    You’re not seriously trying to say that our medical services are almost three times safer than in England? Now that would be a headline that the BBC and Daily Mail would surely promote.

    Given that there are much more private health services in England it would be interesting to see the claims experience in that industry as well.

  8. Andy-B says:

    It would appear that after your diligent analysis, it’s a SNPBAD story afterall.

  9. Cuilean says:

    No wonder the anti-SNP, pro British status quo press hate you so much. Another excoriating exposure of their quite unhinged desire to ‘do Scotland down’ propaganda.

  10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “You’re not seriously trying to say that our medical services are almost three times safer than in England? Now that would be a headline that the BBC and Daily Mail would surely promote.”

    I’m not trying to say anything. I’m publishing the unvarnished facts without comment and letting you make your own mind up.

  11. Morgatron says:

    Once again Stu, thanks for wading through the bull shit for us and presenting figures that can be balanced against the medias daily SNP BAD shite.

  12. Dr Jim says:

    Looks like being a lawyer for NHS England is a secure and financially rewarding career then

  13. Jim Watson says:

    You obviously didn’t watch FMQ’s last week – to recap:-stories which show the NHS in Scotland to be worse than that of other parts of the UK are OK, stories that show it in a positive light are not!

    You are risking the collective wrath of Ruthie, Willie and Dick Leonard by publishing this. They might now stop reading your website…

  14. Macart says:

    Neatly done. 🙂

  15. Kevin Cargill says:

    Far be it from me Stu but I think you’ll find it’s 4.5 times higher in real terms. NHS England’s monthly figure of 1.71B has to be divided by 10 to equate it to Scotland’s figures. Then divide the £171M by the £38.3M for Scotland which is roughly 4.5 times. An even bigger problem for England than you thought. And a much better result for Scotland. It’s a long time since I was at school so I stand to be corrected.

  16. mike cassidy says:

    Found this on the Welsh NHS.

    Looks like the BBC have been at the FOI capers again.

    But I don’t see anything on their Scotland news page – yet!

  17. Brian Powell says:

    The ‘journalists’ aren’t lazy, they are politically motivated wankbuckets.

  18. Kevin Cargill says:

    I was of course only referring to your last point about the 2016/2017 figure

  19. munron says:

    You are risking the collective wrath of Ruthie, Willie and Dick Leonard by publishing this. They might now stop reading your website…

    Where would they get the truth if they did that?

  20. Greannach says:

    What is it that journalists and British nationalist politicians have against people working in the health sector? The same detestation is increasingly being shown towards education workers now too.

    Whether it’s doctors, nurses, midwifes, care workers, ancillary staff, teachers or classroom assistants, the British nationalists seem to loathe them and be determined to undermine their work.

    I know the real aim is to keep up the SNPBad leitmotif, but the effect is to make health and education workers furious and/or demoralised. I can understand that a number of the politicians can see a chance for (semi-)privatisation and a quick buck to be bad for themselves, but what do the journalists get out of this denigration of hard-working, dedicated public sector workers?

  21. gus1940 says:

    Of course the increases in the amounts paid out and legal costs both in Scotland and South Britain will not be an indication of the health pros in both countries becoming more slipshod but caused by the ever increasing hold that the US Compensation Culture has in polluting society with the enthusiastic help of ambulance chasing lawyers.

  22. HandandShrimp says:

    I can’t make up my mind as to whether journalism has always been this poor and my consciousness has been raised or whether competent journalism has simply ceased to exist…

    …or a bit of both.

    There is a big story there in that comparison but the journalist let the news get away.

  23. Dr Jim says:

    I’d be interested to know how many claims are made to the NHS by the staff and how much was paid out

  24. galamcennalath says:

    Day after day ‘they’ take some basic info and spin, twist, extrapolate, and end up with more of ‘their’ SNPBad fodder.

    What I can’t quite get my head round is who are ‘they’ and how is all this coordinated and organised. How did it manage to become everything everywhere.

    Half of Scots are pro-Indy – do none of them working in broadcasting and msm? Have they all all been weeded out and replaced by pro-Union propagandists who are willing to implement all this SNPBaad stuff?

  25. Capella says:

    I received a reply to my complaint to BBC about the Sarah Smith misinformation.

    We appreciate you getting in touch regarding the error in Sarah Smith’s report on waiting times for NHS Scotland. We raised this directly with our Correspondent and senior editorial staff. They respond:

    “Within an item on Tuesday’s News at Six, Sarah Smith mistakenly used the annual figure rather than the weekly one, for waiting times in A&E departments in Scotland. The weekly figure was 5,686. This was used in all subsequent bulletins and coverage.”

    We have also published a Correction on our website:

    Sarah also acknowledged the human error on social media: “This week I made a factual error in a report on the BBC 6 o’clock news. For which I apologise. I mistakenly used the annual figure for A&E waiting times in Scotland instead of the weekly one. As soon as I realised my error I changed the report for all subsequent broadcasts.”

    So if you were a typical BBC viewer and listened to the 6 0’clock news, you were misinformed. If you use the internet and social media, you may have seen the correction.

    I can go back to their website if I want to waste more time following this up.

    Time elapsed since original broadcast so far – 8 days.

    Correction in the same format, at the same time as the original misinformation – 0.

  26. HandandShrimp says:

    Come to think of it, the English NHS figure is terryifying and will get significantly worse following Liz Truss’ tweaking of the personal injury discount rate.

  27. Robert Graham says:

    no – no – no we are not allowed any comparisons with our big neighbour , according to the unionist party .

    thats unless its proved Scotland’s figures are worse,

    then of course they are used as a weapon in order to beat the snp about the head relentlessly day after day

  28. Heehawbaws says:

    Sorry, but using our subjugators’ figures to show up their spin and hypocrisy is nothing but whataboutery.

  29. Capella says:

    @ Greannach 11.41 – the purpose of running down and trashing public services is to force acceptance of privatisation. The the funders of the Westminster elite can move in and cream off the profitable bits, with the generous assistance of the taxpayer.

    “You wouldn’t want to go back to the bad old days of British Rail would you?”

    I would.

  30. Robert Peffers says:

    @Ken MacColl says: 16 January, 2018 at 11:10 am:

    “We must be served by the lost unreliable second rate broadcast and print media in the Western world.
    What to do?”

    The least expensive thing we can legally do is to just ignore the Westminster controlled propaganda machine altogether. That is do not pay for what are laughingly called by Westminster, “Newspapers”, or pay to watch or listen to the Westminster Controlled broadcasters, (Broadcasting is a reserved to Westminster Function).

    This has two great benefits not including the subliminal absorption of Westminster establishment propaganda. It deprives Westminster of an effective Propaganda machine and you save the cost of newsprint and licence fees plus you don’t subject yourself to upsetting and stress inducing propaganda.

    Here is a wee item of news that every Scots parent should pass on to their children –

    Never eat the yellow or orange snow.

  31. frogesque says:

    @Capella: 11.55

    Sarah Smith isn’t some off the street Josephene. She is a highly paid and experienced Political Editor for the BBC who is more than capable of correctly reading from an autocue.

    For them to suggest she made a ‘mistake’ is arrant nonsense. She was caught with her knickers at her ankles and the BBC were FORCED to make later corrections.

    Keep up the good work, we are getting to them!

  32. yesindyref2 says:

    Happens all the time, the out of context thing, but even Which are doing it, quoted from the Herald:

    Alex Hayman, Which? public markets managing director said: “Scotrail fares are going up but their passengers have rated them in the bottom half of our survey.

    What he fails to point out is that these are the rises for the top 5 operators in or into Scotland:

    “ScotRail: 3.2%”
    “TransPennine Express fares will rise by 4.6%”
    “CrossCountry’s fares will rise by an average of 4.1%”
    “Virgin Trains East Coast: 3.4%”
    “Virgin Trains West Coast: 3.3%

    So why single out Scotrail for “fares are going up” when in fact it’s slightly the lowest fares increase?

    That’s not even mentioning the conclusion that Scotland ranks the lowest of the operators in Scotland, totally ingoring that part of Scotrail is busy commuter trains, like Southern in England, the worst for customer satisfaction. I did say I wouldn’t mention it!

  33. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Far be it from me Stu but I think you’ll find it’s 4.5 times higher in real terms.”


  34. Robert Peffers says:

    @Morgatron says: 16 January, 2018 at 11:20 am:

    “Once again Stu, thanks for wading through the bull shit for us and presenting figures that can be balanced against the medias daily SNP BAD shite.”

    Now this may prove to be controversial but I read it as Rev Stu telling Wingers to do their own thinking and learn to understand how to interpret the, “News”, as propagated by the Westminster Establishment”.

    Of which the, “Scottish Main Stream Media”, (SMSM), factually are their propaganda wing.

    Does not Rev Stu say on this thread that he stated the facts but made no comment upon them. Thus leaving it to Wingers to do their own thinking. Thinking they should have already done for themselves anyway.

    Propaganda only works if the recipient is either lazy, ignorant or stupid.

    I quoted an example on the last topic. When the EU officials make the statement that, “The United Kingdom”, cannot ‘Cherry Pick’, from the EU Freedoms”, it actually means at least two stone cold facts. First that the United Kingdom will not get any kind of soft BRUKEXIT, (if they cannot choose which of the basic EU Freedoms they want while rejecting the others then they don’t get any of them), but it implies another fact that the lazy use of initial letters, “UK”, instead of the actual full title of the United Kingdom is a Westminster ploy to bolster their ludicrous claims that, “The UK”, is not only a unified country but that the, “United Kingdom”, is a bipartite union of two equally sovereign kingdoms.

    Nowhere is there any actual legal ruling that the United Kingdom is, “A country”, of any kind. Never mind it being a unified whole country. Not to mention that there is no actual legal basis for the country of England, (a single country), being actually the same thing as, “The Kingdom of England”, that is factually three distinct countries.

    Yet Westminster operates as the de facto Parliament of the Country of England that now has devolved s few unimportant Westminster functions to Wales, N.I. and Scotland and thus has split up what is a bipartite union of kingdoms as a quadratic union of countries with the country of England, with no elected as such, parliament of the country of England that makes Westminster the de facto parliament of the country of England devolving useless country of England powers to three elected as such individual country parliaments.

    Where, in a legal sense, has Westminster derived these powers for itself? The answer is nowhere for no such legal powers have ever been legally given. Thus the United Kingdom remains legally a bipartite union of two kingdoms.

  35. Morgatron says:

    Robert Peffers;
    You read it any way you want big boy. But one things for certain , you wont need to go and source out my answer , so dont be a smug dick and tell me which way ive got to intepret anything. Cheers

  36. heedtracker says:

    Another tory media double whammy. Smear free at point of access NHS health care, really smear SNP Toryboy’s salivating at all the easy mullah they can make from monopolies like the NHS, not news.

  37. Calum McKay says:

    Bench marking is a common and legitimate practice in industry, academia and the press.

    This is true for the press in Scotland if we are on the negative side of the bench.

    Hoewever, if we are on the positive side of the bench, the story is presented in isolation.

    At best this is lazy journalism, at worst it is brit nat propaganda!

  38. Martin says:

    I’m glad Stu drew no conclusions from this in the article. There are too many variables which could affect the headline figure- legal fee discrepancies, expectations of successful defence, nhs board policy (nhs Scotland pays out very early even when negligence unlikely as it’s cheaper long term). I’m not sure these cases speak to anything other than how much the nhs is paying for legal proceedings. It certainly doesn’t bear much real relationship with the quality of the health care system.

  39. Muscleguy says:

    I can see how the process of this article you refer to went, either overtly or in the mind of the ‘journalist’.

    What’s the figure for legal action against the SNHS per year? £35m, that is too low, five years? too low, ten years? That looks big enough AND the whole period the SNP has been in charge, Done.

  40. Roddy Macdonald says:

    These figures will probably also include most of the final settlements for the HIV & Hepatitis infections by contaminated blood products which, as I recall, were particularly massive payouts which have been being fought over since the eighties.

  41. Steviesparkie says:

    Shockeroonie. BBC Shiteland web site 4 mins ago . A & E waiting times crap last week in Shiteland with NO comparison with other reasonably adjacent NHS regions.. oh my ?ha and as I write on BBC 2 news national headlines….

  42. Steviesparkie says:

    *BBC radio 2

  43. ronnie anderson says:

    Another day of Bbc bullshit SNP bad, setting out their agenda for FMQs & their useful idiots .

  44. Muscleguy says:

    BTW as a scientist well versed in assessing figures such lacks of context make my blood boil. There is also a long article in the National today purporting to compare the SNHS with something other than England’s, a laudable aim. Except the author compares Apples with Oranges. Various facts, from the US, from Germany from his personal experience are given by none of them can be compared either with each other or the SNHS from what is given in the article.

    So, pretty much a waste of time. Time for journalists writing articles containing any figures to have to have a good degree in a numerate subject. Too many Arts grads with no idea.

    I have marked student essays and that article gets a zero for content and only marks for style (5 out of 20 in my day up for grabs).

    For context my degrees are in Physiology, a numerate biomedical science where context and dynamic change are givens which have to be known, taken account of and described in text and calculated via equations.

  45. John Bell says:

    I see the BBC have another waiting time at A & E in Scotland the worst since records began headline. No doubt will be second item on Reporting Scotland after the worst snowfall ever and its all SNP’s fault

  46. Capella says:

    @ frogesque – will do 🙂
    I can submit a response via the website. The BBC can take a month to respond. They will have a stock reply filed.
    I MAY be able to escalate after that.

    Spring comes late to these high pastures. Don’t hold your breath!

  47. Valerie says:

    In the spirit of making up our own minds.

    When you see the abject failures of the English NHS day in, day out, thanks to the medical staff being on their knees, these figures are unsurprising, and will continue to rise.

    A well staffed service, is a safe service. We know our service has issues, BUT we also know Scotgov works very hard to fund and respond or anticipate issues.

    Those who have lost loved ones, or witnessed mistreatment/negligence in England, are taking action, for closure or justice. Most reasonable folk dont take this action, unless they feel pushed to the brink by something glaringly obvious.

    How will it go now we KNOW there has been substantive drops to train for nursing, and numbers coming from the EU.

    Another runaway train wreck, and we will be affected of course.

  48. Petra says:

    Thanks for the clarification … once again Stu.

    I’m also wondering how STV can find the time to broadcast information about payouts for medical negligence by NHS Scotland whilst totally avoiding reporting on anything positive on a daily basis, such as the rise in the oil price instead of the negative … decommission, decommission, decommission.

    Night after night we get the ‘doom and gloom’ news report here in Scotland from STV (and BBC). Maybe they should think of employing someone like Professor John Robertson ‘Talking up Scotland’ or you Stu, lol.


    Can anyone tell me why the online BBC news site lists England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland and yet when you click on England no ‘politics’ section pops up, as is the case with Scotland, Wales and N Ireland?

  49. Fred says:

    @ frogesque, presumably Union Jack knickers eh?

  50. jfngw says:

    It would seem BBC Scotland have a newish health correspondent, Shelley Jofre. Worked for Panorama for some time, seems to have returned to BBC Scotland. Seems they need more fire power to tell us how rubbish we are.

    I believe there has been a news report every evening this year about how poor the SNHS is, no other nation is receiving this level of negative coverage about its health service.

    Huge sighs of relief from transport and education, though I suspect this will be short lived relief.

  51. Ken500 says:

    £12.5Billion Healthcare spend a year. This is peanuts. A drop in the ocean ‘Minimun pricing’ will cut the Healthcare/social care bill. May 2018. It took the SNP Scottish Gov 5 years to get it through because of unionist intransigence. Wasting £Billions which could have been saved or better spent. Lifestyle changes are what are needed.

    The MSM/Press are just a disgrace with figures. Either deliberately or through total ignoranance incompetence. Appalling. They can’t count or read a balance sheet. Most of them should be sacked. Destroying their own industry. Appalling hacks. They can’t even do the any slight research on the internet. Pop 5.2Billion. Extremely low % proportionately,

    It goes to show how good the SNHS manages. Without Westminster intransigence and poor inappropriate management. Cutting £Billions from the NHS every year and lying about it. Wasting £Billion on grotesque projects of little value. When there are feasible, safer cheaper alternative possible.

  52. Robert Peffers says:

    @Morgatron says:16 January, 2018 at 12:54 pm:

    “You read it any way you want big boy.”


    Seems I’ve hit a nerve.

    To start with, Morgatron, you have jumped to a quite wrong conclusion from absolutely no evidence provided for that conclusion.

    I’m a wee 5’4″ , “Big Boy”, Morgatron. So much for reading things that simply are not there to be read.

    , ” … But one things for certain”.

    Well actually there is nothing whatsoever certain about it.

    ” … you wont need to go and source out my answer”.

    Why would I even want to?

    ” … so dont be a smug dick and tell me which way ive got to intepret anything.”

    No but I will tell you that, “dont”, is written as, “don’t”, and “ive”, is written correctly as, “I’ve”.

    Interpret that as you wish.

    Thing is, Morgatron – when it comes to the written English language there is actually no real room for, “Interpretation”, as English Grammar is, unlike Lowland Scottish Language Grammer, a set of very precise rules for the English Language.

    Thus if you do not abide by the rules of English Grammar then you are simply reading the English Language wrongly.

    Let me provide you with a very typical error that is made by the English Speaking and writing general public.

    Ask any given number of educated in English people whose first language is English what they mean when the use the term, “Vertigo”.

    In the main you will get the vast majority of them to reply that it means a fear of heights. Thing is it means no such thing.

    A fear of heights is factually, :- “acrophobia”.

    This term comes from the Greek words akros (meaning peak or summit) and phobos (meaning fear).

    While Vertigo is:- an actual sensation of spinning or dizziness.

    This is often caused by inner ear infections or diseases of the ear such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, and Meniere’s disease. BPPV can occur when calcium builds up in canals of the inner ear, causing dizziness.

    So there you are. Your, “interpretations”, of what is being said or written are actually you interpreting the actual meaning as what you think is the meaning or, as often the case with actual trained, “Journalists”, deliberate distortions of the actual truth.

    More likely, though, the so called journalists, are relying upon the fact that vast numbers of the English speaking World are very much unable to understand much of the English Language.

    BTW: My first language is NOT English but is Lowland Scots.

    Make of that little actual fact whatever you decide to interpret it as.

  53. Surprised there isn`t a lot more paid out in damages,

    `A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.`

    after heart disease (Heart Attack,Cardiac Arrest,Stroke) and Cancer the medical profession are the biggest killers in America,if it`s happening there it`s happening here.

    “The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines — FLW.

  54. Valerie says:

    @ Martin. 1pm

    Payments for negligence are no indicator of quality of service???

    Oh well, lets not bother about negligence at all. Lets have no medical or professional standards of care.

    Do you know for a fact that SNHS pays out early? Are you trying to say this is a real earner for anyone going into hospital?

  55. mike cassidy says:

    As the original stv article points out, their source for this is the BBC shared data unit.

    Whose purpose in theory

    “The BBC’s Shared Data Unit passionately believes journalists should have the time and tech skills to interrogate such a rich new source of information, and unpack and explain its implications for our diverse audiences.”

    Now the English aspect is currently the main story on BBC England News page

    But there is still nothing on the Scotland news page.

    I wonder if they let STV run with it knowing STV would not “unpack and explain” – and the Rev would wield his hammers swiftly.

  56. Ken500 says:

    Divide £12.5Billion by £35Million. To see what % it is. Can’t be bothered. Extremely low? There is always human risks/errors. In every occupation. Especially with complicated health problems and extremely complicated operations. That need resolved. No offence to anyone so affected. It can be tragic.

  57. yesindyref2 says:

    Was going to post this but couldn’t be bothered!

    Total annual budget for the SNHS is about £13 billion. So at £35 million for medical negligence, that’s just 0.27%.

  58. Donald anderson says:

    Smithers should be removed

  59. Charles says:

    The BBC ran a story yesterday ‘500 operations cancelled in last week’. Again no context what this number was against or how it was made up. For example, were these cancellations down to A&E pressures?, staff sickness?, patients dying? etc, etc.

    The Latest figures I could find on how many procedures were carried out in Scottish hospitals was from 2016, this included all operations such as removing a mole to organ transplants – the total was circa 1.3m which equates to 25,000 per week, taking the 2016 figures as an average, the 500 worked out at 2% of all procedures. But the headline ‘98% of operations met during winter flu crisis ‘ doesnt have same SNP BAD ring to it.

  60. cearc says:

    Sloppy journalism or censorship by ommision?

    It strikes me as pretty odd given the screaming headlines about the EHS that no english journalist has bothered to look up just how much, say Virgin Care, have made in profit and paid out in dividends.

  61. Petra says:


    And then again you’ll find some interesting data in the National. Professor Mike Lean’s ”call on the media ..”

    C’mon STV (and the BBC) buck up.

    From the National letter section:

    ‘There is massive pressure on the NHS at the moment, exacerbated by the winter flu, particularly obvious for A&E departments. It is damaging morale among staff, and very misleading for the public, that the BBC and newspapers are reporting repeatedly that “just 78 per cent of patients across Scotland were seen within the target time of four hours”. Most are actually “seen” within a few minutes.

    That figure of 78 per cent in fact refers to the 78 per cent who, within four hours from arrival, have been seen, triaged, examined, investigated (with blood tests, X-rays, CT scans etc), treatments started and then transferred to a ward or discharged home.

    What actually happens in large busy Accident and Emergency departments is this:

    1. All true emergencies and accidents are seen and treated immediately, without any delay.

    2. All other people arriving at A&E are seen for “triage” by a nurse, usually within 10-15 minutes, to decide how ill the person is, and who needs to see them (eg surgeons, physicians, nurses).

    3. For patients arriving by ambulance, the ambulance staff remain with the patient until they are seen.

    4. Those who need to see a doctor are all seen within 30-40 minutes.

    5. The doctor takes a history from the patient and carers, examines, assesses previous drug treatments etc, and as appropriate to each case, sends blood tests, orders X-rays and CT scans etc to make a diagnosis.

    6. Blood samples have to be transported, processed in laboratories and reported.

    7. X-rays and scans have to be done and then reported by specialist staff.

    8. Treatment is started to relieve symptoms and to tackle the underlying diagnosis.

    9. Arrangements are made for transfer to an appropriate ward, or to return home.

    As medicine has become more sophisticated, the extent of investigations has increased, and it is really extraordinary that so much is done within four hours. It should not be a serious criticism of the NHS if these steps exceed four hours in some cases, and an argument could be made to raise that target.

    We call on the media not to refer to “patients not being seen for over four hours”, or “not treated for over four hours”. This negative language has creates unwarranted anxiety amongst patients and carers, and is hurtful to dedicated hard-working NHS staff.

    Mike Lean
    Professor of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow and Consultant Physician, Glasgow Royal Infirmary


    I have watched this week as Reporting Scotland did their usual Pravda hit job on Scottish healthcare professional integrity whilst Theresa May’s “cancel 50,000 operations” plan proved the Red Cross description of the English NHS as a humanitarian crisis was not the hyperbole that Jeremy Hunt claimed it was.

    Two nights ago I got a message from Northern Ireland, where my 77-year-old mother, a career psychiatric nurse in the NHS, moved to live out her twilight years. She had developed serious breathing difficulties at around 2pm, and as I got the message around 4pm I assumed she would already be in hospital so I gave her a quick bell on her mobile to see that she was OK. She answered and said that the ambulance still had not arrived and she sounded really bad.

    My sister who lives locally could not go near her as she is suffering from the flu and didn’t want to risk making things worse, but she told me that it would be impossible to take her by car even had she been fit due to the state my mother was in. This went on for another five hours.

    Eventually at 9pm I was trying to get the local fire brigade to go round, as they have a qualified first-response medic along with supplies of adrenaline and suchlike. I got a message that the ambulance had turned up.

    This was a 999 call made seven hours previously, for a 77-year-old with serious breathing problems. By the time they got her to hospital her oxygen levels were so low that she has been on an oxygen respirator since. The oxygen levels led to a blood toxicity level that was 60 times the normal average.

    My mother started off as a ward nurse in the early 1960s, where Matron ran the wards and Doctor ran the hospital. The wards were cleaned by the nurses under the watchful eye of Matron and woe betide if a spillage was there a minute after it was made.

    My mother won’t hear a bad word spoken about the people who work for the NHS. She won’t make a fuss.

    Insidious privatisation has crept into the NHS since Thatcher decided to remove the working class – half by encouraging them to become middle-class by buying their council houses and shares in utilities, the other half by just cutting off everything they need to live. Jobs and community were thrown under the bus of the drive to turn manufacturing Scotland into North Britain Services Ltd.
    So when you see these horror stories that Jackie Bird et al come out with daily slagging of the NHS in Scotland, ask yourself this: do you know anyone who has waited for seven hours for a 999 ambulance? No? Well I do and I hope you never have to.

    There is one government standing between you and that kind of experience, and it’s in Holyrood. If you don’t believe me, ask the first nurse or doctor you meet.

    Dave Llewellyn

  62. Morgatron says:

    Robert Peffers
    Wank is still spelt Wank, you supercilious twat and thats what you are wee man! No nerve hit here im afraid , but ive certainly rattled your smug cage.

  63. Bobp says:

    Jfngw 1.35pm. ‘Huge sighs of relief from transport and education though” You forgot police Scotland

  64. Capella says:

    @ mike cassidy 1:39 – interesting. That explains the endless flow of public sector criticism. Maybe Stu could use the services of the BBC Shared Data Unit.

    Research collated by the Birmingham-based Shared Data Unit is shared with more than 700 print, online or broadcast news partners.

    The unit shared its first piece of content in September 2017, using data to establish the level of teacher vacanices across the UK.

    Links to all of the unit’s projects, along with examples of how they have been used by approved news outlets, can be seen by following the links below.

    For more details about the Shared Data Unit, email

    Seems to be a one-stop-shop for SNPBad articles.

  65. Bobp says:

    Its about time the NHS in E@W and the SNHS issued a statement condemning the malicious sensationalist reporting, by the ebc and msm.

  66. yesindyref2 says:

    Ah, I wondered where all these posts about the BBC funding journalists came from, and whether they were true or not, not I know:

    Launched in 2017 following more than two years of talks and planning with experts from across the UK media industry, the LNPs support more than 700 print, broadcast and online news outlets by providing free access to news content generated by the BBC News Hub, the Shared Data Unit and up to 150 local democracy reporters.

    Those 700 news outlets – known as Section One partners – are spread across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    . . .

    Please note, the application process to become a Section Two partner – those news organisations that employ Local Democracy Reporters funded by the BBC – is now closed until 2019.

    Yes, how a state funded news organisation can get a strangehold on media that’s strapped for cash. Quite sinister, frankly.

  67. yesindyref2 says:

    “not I know”. NOW I know!

  68. Valerie says:


    More shite pouring out of the Carillion fiasco.

    Apparently, little more than a Ponzi scheme, and its why its liquidation, and not administration. There is nothing left to liquidate and share out.

    Utterly, utterly disgusting. £500m minimum short in various pension funds. Taking money in and paying shareholders upfront, with sub contractors unpaid.

    Another symptom of this festering cesspool we are sitting in.

  69. Petra says:


    The National – Long letter:

    ‘Letters and articles imply that people think we live in a union, but this is incorrect. The people of Scotland live in an “elective dictatorship”, with Scotland as a completely subject province.

    Westminster is the parliament of the English state and crown, governed by English law. Under this English law system, sovereignty rests with “the Crown in Parliament” (Elizabeth II is Queen of England), and “the English Parliament continuing” from 1707 incorporated, or absorbed, the forcibly dissolved Scottish Parliament into a body with a permanent and huge majority of English MPs.

    This has meant that Westminster has absolute powers to change what it chooses: for example removing all the Treaty of Union clauses protecting Scotland, Scottish identity, the people of Scotland as a nation.

    It can violate with impunity the sovereignty of the people of Scotland, despite the Declaration of Arbroath: it can subordinate Scots law with the Supreme Court, and also impose English law in Scotland in mortgages, community hydro etc.

    Over the years it has removed the Scots Mint; abolished the burghs; interfered with Scottish education at all levels; enforced English rules on immigration, taxation, going to war – and many other things which breach a very unequal Treaty imposed on Scotland.

    The removal of 6,000 square miles of Scottish waters with five oil wells and all the fishing to English jurisdiction by means of an Order in Council (not even a parliamentary debate), with the purpose of reducing further Scotland’s share of oil found mainly in Scottish waters, shows that Westminster considers Scotland a subject people without rights. (And this does not even consider the other legislative chamber, with more than 800 unelected members, many voted out by Scottish electors, and almost all with Westminster/London as their priority.)

    The Scottish Parliament itself is a cheat, without the financial tax-RAISING powers we voted for, and hamstrung at every turn. For every £1 we send to Westminster we get back 58p, and a big part of that is to pay the entire costs of Trident, which is “accounted” to Scotland. Holyrood is devolved, power retained, so can be suppressed at any time.

    One of the worst effects of the “Union” we are trapped in is the lack of population growth. In 1707 Scotland was 25 per cent of the population of England, and despite Clearances, ethnic cleansing, destruction by being cannon-fodder (twice as many relatively died in World War One), 100 years ago Scotland had a population of five million.

    Today, with half a million retired from England, the population is the same – the only developed country in the world that has not doubled, trebled or quadrupled its people. Today Scotland’s population is 8.4 per cent of England’s, and dropping.

    Under a government of good faith there could have been a productive union, or a proper federation. But Westminster not only never ever does the people of Scotland any favours, but works actively to disadvantage and suppress Scotland, using accounting systems which disadvantage Scotland, keeping EU monies meant for Scottish hill farmers, working at all times to extract as much, and retain as much, as possible for the Westminster Treasury, in order to benefit Westminster/London.

    This is why the people of Scotland, like every other people, require to restore control of their own affairs, self-determination, and the chance to live in democracy.’

    Susan FG Forde

  70. Fred says:

    How did Smith get that job? apart from being obviously bought & paid for, she’s no oil painting (like Jackie Bird) & gets carried away with herself & falls on her arse big-time. Who was her faither again?

  71. Petra says:

    @ Morgatron says at 2:01 pm ……

    Any chance of you cutting out the use of vile language Morgatron and that applies to anyone else who’s trying to demean this site on a regular basis.

  72. Robert J. Sutherland says:

    Any large organisation dealing with lots of people, especially ill people like the NHS (anywhere), will inevitably throw up the occasional problem. The chances can be minimised by good practice, adequate staffing levels, etc. (and maybe in that regard the NHS in Scotland is somewhat better served due to better resourcing from the SG than elsewhere in the UK), but it can never be reduced to zero. That’s just life.

    I believe though that the SG is seriously considering the adoption of no-fault claims within the SNHS. I hope they do, because it means compensation goes where it should go and not into the fat wallets of the ambulance-chasers, and also because it encourages a culture of openness among the professionals, where mistakes can be readily recognised and acknowledged instead of being “swept under the carpet” by personal and organisational face-saving reactions.

  73. yesindyref2 says:

    It’d be interesting to know who the major shareholders are or who’s behind them or married to them, who else has profited, and in the old days Panorama, Horizon (?), Private Eye, Channel 4 would soon have a documentary about it, and there’s a possibility in the old days it would have brought down a government. These days? I’ll not hold my breath, I’d go blue in the face (not that blue) and get asphyxia!

  74. Martin says:

    Valerie, yes I am well aware of the nhs policy professionally and via contacts. I don’t actually disagree with it at a board level: it’s taxpayer’s money and the less wasted the better, I suppose… Though I obviously worry about it encouraging more people to sue the nhs.

    As for your initial and reactionary comment, I’m merely pointing out that we get very little useful information from “X was spent on negligence claims in Scotland but England spent Y.” Without the cultural and legal background information it doesn’t compare well. Which is why Stu didn’t draw any conclusions from it. The article is clearly about giving contextless information aensationalised to colour oipinion. We must be careful not to fall into the same trap.

  75. winifred mccartney says:

    I got an identical e-mail from BBC re Sarah Smith, funny how in the same time period Scotland was reporting Annual for weekly data and the data for England was 3,000 instead of 30,000 as reported on Newswatch. Now if I were paranoid!!!!

  76. Martin says:

    Oh, and I k ow this is O/T but I finally tried new irn bru today. I wouldn’t drink it again. It has a strange shampoo mixed with melted plastic taste

  77. heedtracker says:

    winifred mccartney says:
    16 January, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    I got an identical e-mail from BBC re Sarah Smith, funny how in the same time period Scotland was reporting Annual for weekly data and the data for England was 3,000 instead of 30,000 as reported on Newswatch. Now if I were paranoid!!!!

    Its all just tory mass media propaganda to keep their populace anxious and unhappy.

    Eddie Mair’s BBC r4 PM show yesterday took an actual fake news story from Hawaii, a state official had mistakenly notified the islands of an imminent but completely imaginary ballistic missile attack.

    So beeb r4 gimps had on a UKOK nuclear bomb going expert, to explain in detail what we should do here, when the bomb drops.

    Even a hard core tory roaster like Mair, had the decency to sound embarrassed, by jjust this one example of hard core vote tory Project Fear BBC bullshit.

  78. jfngw says:


    I don’t think there will be much relief at Police Scotland, they are hardly ever off the front page.

  79. Scott says:

    While on about BBC and SNHS I did not see this reported on BBC.

    More than 600 nurses are to be recruited from the Philippines in an attempt to plug Northern Ireland’s chronic nursing shortage.
    I thought the Tories were cutting down on immigration but is that ok to keep the DUP happy.
    If the SNP were to do this imagine what Ruth the mouth would have to say.

  80. starlaw says:

    Unlike Hawaii we wont get any warning, but the usual safety devices should work fine, just remain indoors and shut your doors and windows.

  81. wull2 says:

    We must have eyes everywhere, report it when you can.

  82. galamcennalath says:

    starlaw says

    Unlike Hawaii

    Promoted by the retweet on WoS twitter of another nuclear tweetalong tonight to The War Game?

    Thoroughly depressing stuff. However EVERYONE should watch The War Games and Threads.

    The Cold War is allegedly over, but it’s still a dangerous world. Unfortunately, Scotland, shackled to England as it is, remains in the thick of it all.

  83. Dr Jim says:

    Just seen this Tweet:

    “The UK should decide who gets to vote in Scotland”

    No more words from me
    It’s another make your own mind up on that thing

  84. louis.b.argyll says:

    The relentless denial of context,
    the non-existent research,
    the failure of balance..
    in favour of ‘spin’ only stories,
    exposes OUR PRETEND MEDIA.

    Many people still take this lying down. Sentimentality hijacked by evil intent.

  85. Socrates MacSporran says:

    Yesterday I ha my regular renal clinic appointment, a clinic I have to attend three times a year.

    My appointment was for 11.15am, but, I was early – I got there at 11am. I was seen immediately.

    I was weighed, provided a urine sample, was seen by the consultant – a new guy, who went through my history, gave me some details I was unaware of and some good advice, he checked my blood pressure, then sent me out to the nurse, who took my blood samples. Including the 20 minutes or so I spent with the consultant, I was in and out in 35 minutes.

    See the Scottish NHS, brilliant.

  86. cearc says:


    Don’t forget to pee on the table cloth before you get under the table!

    Perhaps I didn’t remember that quite right. still I’m sure it all be fine after all it’s only most of Scotland.

  87. Bobp says:

    Starlaw forgot the head between the legs and kiss your a**e goodbye.Only consolation,our masters will be going with us.

  88. Legerwood says:

    Scott says:
    16 January, 2018 at 3:13 pm
    While on about BBC and SNHS I did not see this reported on BBC.
    More than 600 nurses are to be recruited from the Philippines in an attempt to plug Northern Ireland’s chronic nursing shortage.

    If they manage to recruit those nurses then most of them will be deported within 6 years thanks to the new immigration rules brought in by Westminster a couple of years ago. Under these rules anyone who has been here for 6 years and is earning less than £36,000 is liable to be deported. Most nurses are not earning that.

    The Royal College of Nursing took issue with the UK Government over this pointing out that it would mean the loss of up to 6,000 nurses per year. The RCN managed to get a stay of execution of the new rules but I do not know if that exemption has been made permanent. For context, the majority of nurses in NHS Wales earn around £28,000 pa

    Then of course we have all the EU nurses who are leaving and even more who have decided not to come. Nurses wanting to come here from the EU has fallen by over 90% since Brexit

    Recently NHS England announced they were going to spend £100,000,000 to recruit up to 3,000 GPs from abroad, hopefully from Europe! The money would be paid to recruitment agencies who would stand to receive upwards of £20,000 per GP recruited.

    You get the impression that left hand and right hand are in no way connected when it comes to the UK Government and their policies and consequences thereof.

  89. Bobp says:

    Dr jim 4.40pm.should we be surprised,they decide everything else for us. I just wonder what it will take for Scots to take the blinkers off.

  90. Ken500 says:

    The Tories have cut NHS funding £4Billion a year from 2015 to 2020. £20Billion. They have put in £2Billion. Instead of making an increase for the elderly and inflation.

    The SNP Gov has had to mitigate the cuts and put in more for inflation and the elderly.

    No mention in the MSM/Press. Too scared to report the true facts. Either deliberately or in ignorant incompetence. Reporting a pack of lies. They create the lie then regurgitate the lie. It is just appalling. Unbelieveable. They can’t do basic simple, simple maths. Division. Proportions and %. A total inability to analyse statistics. Most of them should get the sack. For making false claims. Agent provocateurs.

  91. heedtracker says:

    starlaw says:
    16 January, 2018 at 3:51 pm
    Unlike Hawaii we wont get any warning, but the usual safety devices should work fine, just remain indoors and shut your doors and windows

    It is a creepy one, beeb r4 gimp wise. All it really does is highlight how beeb gimps use anything and everything to make us feel insecure, worried etc

    40 minutes in, feel the beeb gimp attempt at creeping us out.

    Ofcourse what these gimps do not say, is the actual reality of their UKOK WMD’s in the 21st UKOK century.

    That it is here in Scotland, there is a likelihood of a nuclear explosion right in the middle of Scotland and that’s why they dump all 200 hundred Trident nuke missiles here, not for example,

    Our imperial masters are not that stupid.

  92. One_Scot says:

    Honest to God if you worked in the NHS you would be sick to death of watching the Scottish TV News headlines. Being told you are crap constantly must be very wearing.

  93. Ken500 says:

    Still nonsensical Press/TV Report. Absolute nonsense. These people should be handing in their notice. Resigning. Just not up to standard. They have the cheek to criticise dedicated essential services workers. Beyond belief.

    Cancelled operations have been done before – a year ago?

    Minimal cancellations, for a variety of reason. In comparison of the total number of operations carried out. Often due to the patient cancelling or being ill. Colds etc. Or non attendance. Holidays or work expectations.

  94. Andy-B says:

    STV, still parroting A&E figures, as poor, no context on the figures overall.

  95. Old Pete says:

    BBC just stated A&E in Scotland is outperforming everywhere else in the UK, Jackie not to happy :0)

  96. Ken500 says:

    Peter Smith. East Kilbride ITV a professional liar. Appalling. Unbelievable.

  97. Old Pete says:

    On BBC news it was stated that oil was over $70 a barrel and had been for a number of weeks. Also inflation at 3% is a good thing ?
    UK is making a mess of devolved powers and Brexit, just helping to reinforce the case for the new referendum on Independence :0)

  98. SNP MP Stephen Gethins quoting Calgacus,

    `Robbers of the world (BRUTISH EMPIRE), having by their universal plunder exhausted the land, they rifle the deep. If the enemy be rich, they are rapacious; if he be poor, they lust for dominion; neither the east nor the west has been able to satisfy them.

    Alone among men they covet with equal eagerness poverty and riches. To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it BREXIT.`

    not an exact quote but near enough.

  99. Dorothy Devine says:

    Not just STV attacking the SNHS but ITV putting their lying boot in as well.

    Time to send a copy of the Prof’s letter to the MSM and see which outlet has any integrity whatsoever.

    It is also time to sue any outlet that lies and misrepresents – they’ve got away with dishing up political press releases and skewed statistics .

    As for their ‘don’t listen to the news on the internet it’s unregulated and not professional journalism ‘ well correct guys and gals, those busily exposing your malignant journalism are just ordinary folk whom you have enraged enough to give of their time so that folk can be correctly informed.

    Handandshrimp, there was once a man called Ian Bell, sadly missed.

  100. Grouse Beater says:

    A film that puts most of its characters in hospital; you have to presume they all had private Medicare or Obamacare or cadged a loan off Trump: Three Billboards:

  101. mike cassidy says:

    Despite the BBC being the originator of the information, the BBC Scotland news page still not reporting anything about the medical damages ‘story’.

    Did anybody who braved Misreporting Scotland notice if it made it there?

    Or have the BBC been happy to let STV play the patsy?

  102. yesindyref2 says:

    @Dorothy Devine
    I just twigged who that Jordan Daly is who wrote that article in the Sunday Herald. He also did a Bella Caledonia article:

    “Jordan Daly: Why we should back Kezia Dugdale and send Wings Over Scotland packing”

    Seems to have an agenda, probably driven by jealousy.

  103. starlaw says:

    I get my news from the Internet because I believe what I read to be nearer the truth. I know I am being lied to by BBC and Southern TV. I’ll take a live witness’s word against a political mouthpiece any day

  104. Dorothy Devine says:

    yesindyref2, undoubtedly true – we have shameless so called journalists incapable or , more likely , unwilling to investigate .
    They just sit at desks , accept the deil’s money and spew out specious crap to the detriment of all in Scotland.

  105. Terry says:

    More keech on parliament channel the now. Focussing on the devolved assemblies. I expect labour to side with the Tories again.

    Honestly, Nicola. If this charade continues just pull them out.

  106. Gary45% says:

    As posted a while back,
    I could be standing in the middle of Glasgow, and if a BBBC/STV reporter came up to me and told me “I was standing in Glasgow” I would not believe them.
    The internet is the only source of getting the truth, although some sites do tell “Tories”.
    WoS for the “FACTS ON POLITICS” simples.

  107. ronnie anderson says:

    Mays Gov defeated on clause 11 amendment 3

  108. doineann says:

    No wonder the MSM want you in jail or dead.

  109. remo says:

    Got the same reply from the BBC re. my Sarah Smith Scottish NHS complaint. I have replied to the BBC that a correction on their website and a social media statement from Sarah Smith are not sufficient to undo the damage the BBC broadcast did. I did not miss them and hit the wall! On Newswatch the number of A&E patients over the four hour target in England should have been 300,000 not the 3,000 reported by the BBC.

  110. Petra says:

    @ Ronnie at 7:36 pm …. “Tories defeated.”

    Can you elaborate Ronnie, for example which way did the Scottish Tories vote?

  111. ronnie anderson says:

    Petra sorry as far as Im aware they voted with the Gov ,but will have time wait on Hansard t o clarify .

  112. Petra says:

    OK. Thanks Ronnie.

  113. Street Andrew says:

    I don’t suppose we will ever know how much of these bills for compensation are the direct result of companies fishing by phone for custom. (fishing as opposed to ‘phishing’ which seems to be something else entirely)

    I’ve had lots (I haven’t counted them) of calls about claiming compensation for ‘the accident I had’. Nearly as many as I’ve had for reclaiming PPI payments I’ve never made.

    This can only be expected to get worse post-Brexit if the mad dogs win their desired status of 52nd State of the Union. (With no representation)

    Thanks for supplying some statistical context Rev. South Britain seems to get nastier by the day. I reckon in large measure the three-fold difference in litigation costs is to do with ‘blame’ culture and rampant opportunism for financial gain which seem to be increasingly endemic south of the border.

    The appellation ‘criminal lawyer’ is becoming more appositely applied across the whole profession.

  114. Robert Peffers says:

    @Morgatron says: 16 January, 2018 at 2:01 pm:

    “Wank is still spelt Wank, you supercilious twat and thats what you are wee man!”

    Well you do seem to have a grasp of the more coarse English Language and as for that hint for spelling it I’m sure you are the very best person to know how it goes.

    “No nerve hit here im afraid , but ive certainly rattled your smug cage.”


    It takes a far better person than you to rattle anything of mine, Morgatron.
    I never get upset by such as you. (and you still cannot understand how to punctuate the English language).

    Not only is, “im”, properly written as, “I’m”, with an upper case initial letter , “I”, (I’ll leave it to you as homework to find out why), but it also has an apostrophe between the first and last letter because it is a contraction for, “I am”.

    Is that a cage I hear rattling in the distance?

  115. Liz g says:

    Robert Peffers @ 9.49
    “Cage Rattling “….Have you found the Gorilla Channel Robert?
    Cause I’v heard tell that David Torrance is lookin fur it.
    We are all over on the next thread makin suggestions, why don’t ye pop over and join us!

  116. Kevin says:

    Robert Peffers & Morgatron; I’ll fight baith o’ ye, wi’ wan haun ahent ma back!

    You-twa! A coupla fish-suppers!

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