In a masterpiece of mean, grudging reporting, the above headline and report from the Herald’s health correspondent describes how:

a study of patients admitted to Scotland’s largest hospital with hip fractures over a five-week period at the height of the Covid pandemic found there was no difference in death rates or complications compared to the same period in 2019.


The study also found that mortality rates among the Covid positive hip fracture patients operated on at the QEUH – at 20% – was lower than that seen in other countries. Studies from Spain at New York, where hospitals faced huge influxes of coronavirus patients, put the figure at 30% and 56% respectively.

The Herald report does mention, but makes little of, these two possible explanations:

First, from a spokesperson at the Health Board

“We were one of the first NHS boards in Scotland to implement universal PPE for health care workers and we test in line with national guidance.”

and second:

“We did stop elective so that we could keep up with demand, which never went away.”

Readers will remember the opposition parties, with BBC Scotland and the Herald, regularly implying shortages of PPE and emphasising the negative consequences of pausing elective surgery.

The writer takes no time to suggest that any credit might be due to the hospital or to the Health Secretary who led these decisions and who made sure the supply of PPE did not run out.

Most revealing of the bitterness in the Herald’s health correspondent, is the offensive, to staff, use of the word ‘surprise’ in the headline. I don’t know whether the original researchers used that word but it reveals a long-term agenda to malign Glasgow’s ‘super-hospital and by association, the SNP Health Secretary.

Clearly uncomfortable with this narrative, the writer felt obliged to remind readers for no good reason:

Whistleblowers claimed in May that the virus had spread through shared wards at Gartnavel “like a cruise ship”, claiming 25 patients’ lives.

It’s difficult to stay polite in the face of such dishonesty.