Unreliable NHS staff survey by trade union tells us nothing

According to the Herald:

NHS workers in Scotland are at “breaking point” due to staffing shortages and heavy workloads, while more than half do not feel valued in their jobs, according to a new survey. A poll by Unite Scotland found that more than 80 per cent of workers have experienced staff shortages, while four in five have also had to work over their contracted hours.

Typically, liked a failed S6 project, this report, released only to the Herald it seems and so not open to scrutiny, does not tell us what we need to know before we can take any notice of the findings:

  • What percentage of NHS staff are members of Unite?
  • What percentage of Unite members responded?
  • Was the sample of responses a self-selecting ‘squeaky wheel’ group?
  • How were the questions worded to avoiding leading?

We do know from a properly conducted survey with a transparent methodology, in February 2020, with a 63% response rate (high), from all of NHS Scotland’s staff, that satisfaction levels were high (78 to 84%):


16 thoughts on “Unreliable NHS staff survey by trade union tells us nothing

  1. Sorry to go immediately o/t John – all your articles are NHS focused this morning (I do usually try and find something vaguely relevant! Honest.)

    Just wondering if you keep an eye on the blog of Iain Lawson? It’s interesting to get a different take, and nice to have another Indy blog that is fairly calm, he has an interesting piece on the Wark production:


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Another reaction.

      Kenny MacAskill Retweeted
      Anne Harvey @Acousticville
      18 Aug
      Hugely proud to have worked for you
      . Can’t say same about working with the malevolent fantasists and greasily-rewarded careerists I was called to court to challenge openly, not swimming in a queasy alphabet soup of anonymity.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also what year, month or decade are they referring to in their ‘survey’? It’s going to be certain that the past few months, there will likely have been a drop in SNHS staff available due to illness, or having to sheild, or care for family etc.

    The story tellers’ SNP hatefest is just despicable. I knew someone who worked for ‘unite’ many years ago, they had nothing good to say about them at all, quite the opposite in fact. Their ‘survey’
    means nothing if they are hiding the details, it exposes an agenda driven motive, very unprofessional.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What are you trying to link to there? I can’t believe I clicked on it without thinking, it got me stuck in a round of ‘log in to WordPress’ pages and wouldn’t let me out!

      For some reason WordPress thinks I’ve got an account so I can’t register, but then won’t let me log in because I don’t have an account,,, sigh. I suppose I can use a different email address but have never got round to it.


      1. Oh so sorry, god. I saw it seemed a bit weird…it seems to work though when I click on it, it’s a WP account about a campaign in Oxfordshire to save their even diminishing NHS. Just interesting to see the mess going on in parts of England.
        Maybe because I do have an account it works.

        Is it due to this you can’t set up a WP account?
        So sorry Contrary, I often have very disturbed nights, cat, young people up until small hours, so wake up early and go onto WP especially TUS…so I need to be careful re links etc when not quite fully compos mentis. 😦


      2. It’s fine, I usually look to check links before clicking on them so I was just irritated at myself, not you! It must be an account that only lets registered users see it – and yes, it is always interesting to see what is actually happening in England – we certainly don’t get a realistic reflection from the news in Scotland and some of it is fairly horrific.


  3. A request sent to Unite Scotland regarding this survey received this response:

    “…. you (sic) enquiry has been forwarded on to us. We will not be sharing the details of this survey as this is for internal use other than the headline figures which we have released to the press today. thanks”

    (named union official)
    Unite the Union (Scotland)
    Political, Research & Campaigns Unit
    Direct: (phone number supplied)

    So much for transparency!

    My concern is a general one. The use of selected information to influence public opinion based on ‘survey’ evidence that is NOT made public and whose research method/s are NOT disclosed has become normalised in Scotland. Too often campaigning and trade union bodies are now happy to have the media amplify selected messages without permitting their evidence claims to be scrutinised.

    If an organisation puts information into the public domain that purports to rely on survey evidence with the intent to influence public policy and the voting public’s political opinion then it should open up its survey evidence to public scrutiny!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m beyond being impressed by Union activities as representative of the workforce of late, the turning point for me was agitating for and creating a march in Glasgow for a faster solution by the SNP administration to a problem they and Labour had created within GGC from at least a decade before. For that odious and wooden Leotard to have the hypocrisy to lecture others after his role in that monstrosity really took the biscuit, and it’s been downhill ever since.
    Presumably the SNP-Bad editor was on a break so the Herod thought it’d do as a filler, no data no problem, SG/SNP critical, yeah, we’ll publish…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading WGD about the poll re, independence and he mentions the ‘British Polling Council’. It seems for a survey to ‘adhere to certain standards and be accurate’, it would need to be endorsed by the BPC.
    I wonder if that would be the case with a workers union such as ‘Unite’?


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