A screenshot of a newspaper

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Can you see the rat-faced MSP as he scurries round to the Express offices?

We read:

NHS staff in Scotland have taken more than 5,000 years’ worth of sick leave since 2016, according to damning new figures. Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats under freedom of information laws show the country’s beleaguered health boards lost just over 45 million hours to staff illness over the period. The annual total soared by nearly a fifth, from 11.6 million hours in 2016 to 13.7 million hours in 2018 amid rising concern over a string of missed key waiting times targets. This included a dramatic 71.6 percent rise at Scotland’s largest health board – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Annual absences in the area increased from 2.4 million hours to 4.1 million hours in just two years. Twelve of the 14 boards cited “anxiety, stress, depression, other psychiatric illness” as the most common cause of absenteeism.

Sometimes I weary of correcting their stupidity and mendacity but, you won’t be surprised to hear that they haven’t told their needy readers about what really matters to them – performance:

As winter bites NHS Scotland A&E is still massive 13%* better even though NHS England fiddles the figures!

Health Secretary photographed as NHS Scotland Cancer Treatment 95% target is met

You are MORE THAN TWICE as likely to spend more than 12 hours waiting in A&E in NHS England than in NHS Scotland

Astonishing NHS Scotland performance as cancelled operations due to capacity approach zero

Dear Boris: NHS Scotland largest reductions in surgical deaths EVER documented!

Cancer mortality rates in Scotland continue to fall as NHS Scotland treats more and faster

NHS Scotland beats drug and alcohol treatment target for three years and Reporting Scotland ignores it for the same period

NHS England urged to follow Scotland’s more inclusive bowel screening and save thousands of lives but it’s not newsworthy here

NHS Scotland: Despite increased demand more chronic patients seen within target time

NHS Scotland increasing mental health discharges by 33% in 10 years with 95% treated near to home

As NHS England denies single women Scotland’s IVF service is 100%

Jeanne Freeman demolishes Miles Briggs by revealing that NHS England is short of 25 times as many beds as NHS Scotland is

Are there fewer crime assaults against NHS Scotland staff because they’re more effective and better staffed?

Reporting Scotland Up reveals Scotland’s hospitals cleanest in UK as Norovirus reports halve here but double there

As for the 13.7 million hours taken off sick, that’s an average of 84 for each of the 163 000 staff or 11.2 days per year. These people work in places where you are daily exposed to infection and where you often witness extreme trauma. I’d like to see how Willie Rennie or Liam McArthur or Alex Cole-Hamilton would cope in those circumstances.