It’s so like the Herald’s Health Correspondent to be both pessimistic and Anglocentric. Today’s ‘wisdom’ is behind the paywall so I only have the headline to go on and, of course, her long trail of inaccurate reports on NHS Scotland.

If her report is about the NHS across the UK including NHS England, with its issues of resilience, then what follows has been a waste of my time.

Anyhow, what evidence [yes, facts, that stuff?] is there that NHS Scotland will recover? Three kinds of evidence: Staffing level, previous performance, government support.

Staffing Level:

NHS Scotland has 50% more nurses per head of population than NHS England:

NHS Scotland has 20% more consultants per head of population than NHS England:

Previous Performance:

Typically in NHS Scotland, only 2% or less of operations are ever cancelled due to lack of staff or resources:

The WHO in 2019 said: Scotland’s health system is to be congratulated for a multi-year effort that has produced some of the largest population-wide reductions in surgical deaths ever documented.’

Government Support:

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.

Research Report, July 2017, Learning from Scotland’s NHS at:

No doubt there’s more I could dig up but that should do.