I don’t know about you but I’ve never imagined that Lisa Summers thought she was part of the same community which would be responsible for restarting the NHS. Surely it’s those SNP ministers who should have to do that for us?

After the endless reports of single, supposed, errors, preferably with crying relatives, leaked to her by Anas Sarwar or Miles Briggs, I’ve clearly misjudged her.

Before getting to the serious inadequacies of the report, I must enjoy myself with the grammar.

Lisa writes: Then there is the lost 10 weeks.

That gives me the chance to be the Grammar Nazi and insert ‘sic’ after the ‘is’ which should be an ‘are’, in a sentence about health. What fun! Sic, sick? Geddit?

Anyhow on a more serious note, the report is deeply flawed, as per usual.

No evidence:

Medics say the NHS cannot rapidly return to the way it was before.

‘Medics’ is one of those useful terms, or so some journos think, to allow you to say what you like as long as you’ve spoken to two tame ones.

Image: JPI Media

We hear from ‘Dr Lewis Morrison, head of the BMA in Scotland.’ See that word ‘head?’ Sounds like he’s an academic, familiar with research evidence, but really he’s the convenor of the doctors’ trade union.

Then Summers writes:

Most of the medics that I speak to

This is all she has. A well-paid reporter at the BBC with a team of researchers to help her and we get a partisan figure and ‘most of the medics I speak to.’

A sixteen year-old media studies pupil could do as well.

The evidence:

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: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-00620/

NHS Scotland has 20% more consultants per head of population than NHS England: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/03/08/pension-rules-having-little-effect-on-nhs-scotland-staffing-with-20-more-consultants-and-25-more-gps/

Previous Performance:

Typically in NHS Scotland, only 2% or less of operations are ever cancelled due to lack of staff or resources: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/04/07/stunning-nhs-scotland-performance-with-only-2-of-operations-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.’ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/bjs.11151

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: https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-07/learning-from-scotland-s-nhs-final.pdf