Has Jeanne Freeman’s letter to EU NHS Scotland staff prevented a real crisis this winter?

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Doctor: When you are PM will you write a letter to reassure our EU staff, like the one Jeanne Freeman wrote last year?

Researcher: Brian McGowan

‘I know this must be a very unsettling time for all of you. That is why I wanted to reiterate now how much I value the contribution of every member of staff, regardless of their nationality. Scotland is absolutely your home and we very much want you to stay here.

Jeanne Freeman Scottish Health Secretary in September 2018

What are the facts? Not that many, but needless to say, Glen Campbell was keen to scare us in 2018 with:

A major health board has warned there is a “very high” risk that Brexit could cause disruption to its services. NHS Lanarkshire said it was working with the Scottish government to identify potential problems. A wider [England] BBC investigation has uncovered NHS concerns that leaving the EU could worsen staff shortages and limit access to specialist medicines and doctors. While NHS Scotland is under the control of the Scottish parliament, the Brexit negotiations are the responsibility of the UK government at Westminster.


It is estimated that about 17,000 EU nationals work in health and social care in Scotland. That accounts for less than 5% of the workforce. As NHS Scotland does not routinely record the nationality of staff members, it does not have precise information.


So we don’t really know how many plan to leave.

The figure in England for 2018 was 8%, nearly twice as high


Perhaps Jeanne Freeman’s letter to EU NHS staff just over a year ago has helped to prevent a real crisis?


Footnote:  Campbell is a Scottish surname—derived from the Scottish Gaelic roots cam (“crooked”) and beul (“mouth”)—that originated as a nickname meaning “crooked mouth” or “wry mouthed.”

The McGowan surname derives from the Irish Gaelic name Mac an Ghabhain, which means “son of the blacksmith.” 

So, one twisting the truth and the other helping to forge it?

9 thoughts on “Has Jeanne Freeman’s letter to EU NHS Scotland staff prevented a real crisis this winter?

  1. Jeanne Freeman is an example, not only to Scotland but to the world of what a politician should be. She is a hard-working, empathetic human being who knows her duty to her public, the people of Scotland, and fulfills that duty in a way that sets the highest standard to all those who would enter public service. Her letter to the NHS Scotland workforce is but one instance of her careful and effective leadership.

    Having watched her most recent contribution to the Scottish Parliament’s session on tcurrent affairs of the Glasgow Health Board, I cannot but contrast her directness and detailed answering of questions with the lies and dissembling nonsense we get from Ministers in the Westminster parliament. She absolutely stands out as a ‘real’ woman whose essential qualities of humility, humanity and honesty are her guide in all she does.

    Jeanne is a gem. I wish there were more of her kind.

    As a disclaimer, by the way, I have never met Ms Freeman and I know nothing of her other than what I’ve seen reported in the media. That’s been good enough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John,
    Our son’s final days

    ‘It was like he didn’t matter’

    I watched this on BBC main news “”I know” but is good to see what the enemy are doing.
    This is a terrible story yet I don’t here the likes of Carlaw saying that the Tory HS should go or the BBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to agree with William, that Jeane Freeman seem like a very competent politician, and seems to have the personality to withstand the media battering.

    Yesterday morning on GMS radio Scotland, they got to their pinnacle of screaming ‘CRISIS’, it was extreme. The NHS crisis, we heard repeatedly, seems to be due to two unfortunate deaths in 2017, that appears to be two years ago, and an HSSEA report that wasn’t given to all the people that could have got it so those people didn’t know about faults that had been identified two years ago, or the mitigation actions that were started at that time. Have I got that right? The CRISIS that we are experiencing is due to two year old isolated events that have been dealt with since? I say ‘isolated’ because you’d expect a CRISIS to involve at least half of NHS institutions, maybe?

    Oh aye, the radio added that not enough people were being seen quick enough in A&E, but not much even anecdotal info to constitute a crisis (I will note that many people in the likes of glasgow seem to have the habit of using A&E as a kind of drop in clinic, which really irritates me).

    Do you know the story of The Boy That Cried Wolf? If we really do have a crisis in the NHS or transport, we are going to be in big trouble because we aren’t going to believe any news reports that say so.

    Then, yesterday on the radio, we got Dicky chatting about Labour’s policies (they actually do have some, and mildly socialist as well, so he did have some things to talk about, though history was somewhat warped in the process), even on the phone-in. And there we see the purpose of the BBC screaming Crisis, for Richard Leonard ranted on about how terrible the SNP are at running the NHS – ‘look at all the crises the NHS have had over the past two weeks! You can’t tell me the SNP are doing a good job!’. Yawn. The radio hasn’t mention any CRISIS this morning. So is it solved? Can we relax, now that Labour has been able to use the SNP bad news? Job’s done. Service resumes as usual.

    Well done to the chap that phoned in yesterday and called out Richard Leonard for all his bullshit, though he didn’t get the opportunity to call out one of his responses that put Richard in a good light regarding equal pay for woman in glasgow Council – in doing so the previousLabour led council got thrown the dogs, and he changed history.

    Just wondering now what word the BBC can use, now they’ve overplayed the CRISIS card?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The apparent quiet by the broadcasters on the subject of NHS Scotland and in particular the QEUH may be the calm before the next storm. ISD Scotland has published a whole raft of reports today that will no doubt provide some material for the politicians and media.

      This will keep them going until the next report on QEUH is published later this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the link Legerwood, that gives me a heads up on what’ll be coming up! The only thing I could see that they might pick out for negative press on the SNP and causing distress throughout the citizenry would be the age old waiting times.

        Thinking about it, it seems bizarre to put a 4-hour figure on all A&E admissions (I was shocked that the 4 hours was for being finished with, not just waiting to be seen), ahh, well, I suppose if the person needs more attention then they’re admitted to hospital,,, hmm, why don’t they just do that with everyone? They’d soon reach their targets. I was shocked at the number of admissions to A&E – over 27000 in a WEEK. What are people doing?! 85% success on getting people put through the system. Another thing not mentioned when reports on targets missed are made – testing is so much more thorough these days.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. brilliant quote by the American writer H. L. Mencken:
    ‘The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.’

    Liked by 1 person

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