It’s now more than 3 weeks since my complaint about the above graph. Since then and despite emails directly to the creator of it, it continues to be used to mislead and to suggest that A%E performance in NHS England is only slightly worse than that in NHS Scotland when in fact it is 15% worse.

My complaint on 7th November: 

Coverage of NHS A&E departments 

The bar graph ‘A&E performance across UK % of patients dealt with inside four hours’ uses the wrong data for the NHS England column, suggesting performance significantly better than it is. The error is simple. They mistakenly use the performance figures for ‘All’ A&E departments when they should only use those for ‘Type 1’ departments in England:

Type 1 A&E department: a consultant-led 24-hour service with full resuscitation facilities and designated accommodation for A&E patients. ‘All’ A&E types, include Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres.


Only Type 1 data are comparable with those elsewhere in the UK and are reported discretely by NHS England for that purpose.

So, for example, for September 2019, only 77% of patients were seen in 4 hours, in Type 1 NHS England departments, while in Scotland 89.3% were! 

BBC response on 15th November:

This is an update to let you know that we had referred your complaint to the relevant people and regret that it may take a little longer before we can reply. Please do not contact us in the meantime.

Although we reply to most complaints within 2 weeks, we cannot achieve this every time. It depends on what your complaint was about and how many others we are handling or may sometimes be due to more practical issues. For example, a production team may already be working on another programme or have gone on location.

Will their answer be the usual diversion to say ‘Yes, yes but NHS Scotland has still not met the target?’