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A large, reliable, representative, randomised sample? If we needed one of those we’d never be able to criticise NHS Scotland!

Under the online headline: NHS in Scotland could face £1.8bn ‘shortfall’ without reform, says watchdog, we read, and hear headlined on Reporting Scotland Down:

Audit Scotland’s annual report said the NHS was “seriously struggling to become financially sustainable”. Auditor General Caroline Gardner said the integration of health and social care was too slow and staff were under intense pressure.

and then:

The pressures are getting more and more severe every year. That puts a lot of pressure on people working in the health service and it also damages confidence.

I don’t doubt that the London-born, Wolverhampton Borough-trained accountant, has spotted underfunding and some staff shortages (easy?), in some areas, but I seriously doubt her competence and her intentions in making the above claims because, as far as I can see, the ‘evidence’ for them comes only from elite interviews (anecdotes) and unreliable, tiny-sample, self-selecting surveys carried out by partisan organisations such as the royal colleges and the BMA, seeking primarily to serve their members’ interests. Despite her fine title, her grasp of research methods seems poor. Here are three earlier assessment reports on her failures:

Audit Scotland’s Nursery provision report based on flawed methodology and naïve assumptions. Tories and Labour joyful as they feast on it.

National Audit Offices bows to SNP’s superior statistics

Audit Scotland’s Limited Ability to Comment on the Scottish NHS

The AG is also inconsistent in her findings. We find Audit Scotland saying quite different things depending on the sources they have used. See:

Despite massive increases in demand, NHS Scotland maintains performance levels extremely close to the most rigorous of targets and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. Audit Scotland say: ‘There were no significant weaknesses in the overall quality of care being provided.’

National auditors find two very different NHS systems in the UK. Someone tell Theresa today.

The Auditor General strongly, with no qualifications, commends the Scottish Government on its ‘sound’ management of the economy. The lowest under-spend since devolution.

Footnote: Gardiner has only a qualification in accountancy.

An accountant is a practitioner of accounting or accountancy, which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and others make decisions about allocating resource(s).