Why does Royal College of Anaesthetists alert on medicine shortages not mention Scottish hospitals?

From BBC UK today:

Some key medicines used in intensive care are “in relatively short supply”, the BBC has learned. Supply of anaesthetic medicines in some areas is “a bit stretched”, according to the Royal College of Anaesthetists. One consultant has told the BBC that supplies are “running low” and alternatives are already being used in intensive care in the Midlands. The government [sic] says it is “aware there is an increase in demand for a number of intensive care drugs”.


The report mentions London and the Midlands. ‘The’ Government seems to be aware, ‘the’ Health Secretary Matt Hancock is ‘confident’ and NHS England, of course, has been approached for a response, but there’s nothing from BBC Scotland about this.

I feel sure the Glasgow consultant anaesthetist must know more about this than BBC Scotland seem able to tell us. Surely the level in the QEUH must be positively Spanish by now? This time, it’s her area of competence. Come on! Surely John Beattie can get a quick quote from her or could Anas Sarwar not get a cousin of his to collate a letter with signatures? It doesn’t really matter whose signatures they are. BBC Scotland won’t share them.

The Scottish public has a right to know!

9 thoughts on “Why does Royal College of Anaesthetists alert on medicine shortages not mention Scottish hospitals?

  1. They don’t mention Scotland as the ICUs aren’t struggling there – yet. Scotland is perhaps two weeks behind England. London and the Midlands have the highest numbers of cases at the moment so of course they will be the ones to be having difficulties. This is not a statement excluding Scotland, it’s a statement about the areas in the UK who are having problems.


    1. Oh go on, give your colleagues a bit of credit. Might they be not struggling and, crucially, not predicting that they will struggle, because they are better prepared? We all know that woman and her BBC contacts would be everywhere if there was the slightest suggestion that they are not.


      1. They currently have fewer cases to deal with in most areas of Scotland than Birmingham and London. You can’t equate that with being better or less well prepared. The South West of England is doing much better than Scotland. Why is that? (Answer – currently they have fewer cases).


  2. They have a bigger population so should have greater resources in the first place but if they don’t might privatisation, outsourcing and managerialism be responsible?

    Scotland is clearly comparable with the Midlands’mix of urban and rural but not the SW primarily rural and small town population.


  3. Why so reluctant consider the possibility that NHS Scotland does well? There has been much evidence presented:


    From the Nuffield Trust:

    Scotland has a unique system of improving the quality of health care. It

    focuses on engaging the altruistic professional motivations of frontline staff

    to do better, and building their skills to improve. Success is defined based

    on specific measurements of safety and effectiveness that make sense

    to clinicians.

    Scotland’s smaller size as a country supports a more personalised, less

    formal approach than in England. The Scottish NHS has also benefited

    from a continuous focus on quality improvement over many years. It uses

    a consistent, coherent method where better ways of working are tested on

    a small scale, quickly changed, and then rolled out. Unlike in the rest of the

    UK, this is overseen by a single organisation that both monitors the quality

    of care and also helps staff to improve it.

    Scotland faces particular issues of unequal health outcomes, and very

    remote areas. There are pioneering initiatives to address these, like the

    Links worker programme and Early Years Collaborative to support

    people in very deprived areas, and use of video links for outpatient care on

    remote islands. These should be considered in other parts of the UK facing

    similar issues.

    There is much for the other countries of the UK to learn from this. While

    comparing performance is very difficult, Scotland has had particular

    success in some priority areas like reducing the numbers of stillbirths.

    Scotland’s system provides possible alternatives for an English system

    with a tendency towards too many short-term, top-down initiatives that

    often fail to reach the front line. It also provides one possible model for

    a Northern Irish NHS yet to have a pervasive commitment to quality

    improvement, and a Welsh system described as needing better ways to

    hold health boards to account while supporting them in improving care.

    Scotland has a longer history of drives towards making different parts of

    the health and social care system work together. It has used legislation

    to get these efforts underway while recognising that ultimately local

    relationships are the deciding factor. There is much for England and Wales

    to learn from this.

    Research Report, July 2017, Learning from Scotland’s NHS at: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do agree NHS Scotland is better than NHS England in many things but I’m just saying that your comments about the mortality from Covid 19 may be premature.
      We need to wait to see if/when Scotland catches up with England’s dreadful figures in a couple of weeks. I hope they don’t.
      By the way the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) was reporting last week that the ethnicity of people in ICUs in London didn’t reflect the ethnicity of the population. Look at the photos of the healthcare professionals who have died. This may be why Birmingham is struggling (apart from chronic underfunding). So you can’t compare the Midlands with Scotland as the populations are quite different.


  4. Oooo, alternatives to anaesthetic? Wonder what those could be? Hypnosis? Brandy? Biting down on a stick? I wish you’d give us the detail John!


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