The BMA in Scotland has 16 000 members. Only 1 115 could be bothered to reply. So, that’s a self-selecting sample of 6.9%. Only 47% of those seemed to be fearful of the future. So that’s 3.5%.

What can we say about the the 93.1% who decided not to respond or the 96.6% we didn’t claim to be fearful? I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that they are all confident that NHS Scotland will cope, but you’d be hard pushed to find any crisis of confidence in these figures. Could that be because of these, below?

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:


The ‘chair’ of the BMA in Scotland is a trade union ‘convener’, just a middle-class one, who does wee surveys to pressurise the employer and represent ‘his (not wir) member’s aspirations.’

And, he’s not a ‘leading medic!’ Was Bob Crow a leading train driver?

And, Helen McArdle is not a leading journalist.