FAKE NEWS to spread nursing crisis into Scotland

We’ve become used to shoddy journalism in the Herald these days but this from Martin Williams, Senior New Reporter, is special.

There is a crisis in some parts of NHS England. I feel sure that much of what is in this report is true in those parts but there is no evidence for it in any part of Scotland.

Why is it unlikely to be true here? 50% more nurses per head of population, Covid bed occupancy at only 50% of capacity and ICU bed occupancy at only 17% of capacity.

Williams writes:

THE majority of Scottish nurses are willing to take strike action while feeling undervalued by government with one in three forced to skip meals to feed their family or to save money during the coronavirus crisis. That is the “shocking” conclusion of a new study which exposes a worsening crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland with nearly all frontline key workers saying they are suffering mental health issues.

This is fake news. None of it is true and he knows that, I’m sure. What’s shocking, for the rest of us, is the Herald’s willingness to use and to headline it. Remember:

This study is reported with no details of how many nurses actually responded, how many nurses there are so what sample size that means, how they were contacted or how the questions were worded.

‘The survey details were shared with the Herald by grassroot (sic) health worker support group (sic) Nurses United and Nursing Notes.’

The study is not published, not even mentioned, at the websites of either of these groups, membership not stated.

Why is it just shared with a newspaper with the full report unavailable?

It’s obvious.

The responses ‘from hundreds of Scots nurses‘ Tells you they don’t want you to know how few, that it was less than 900 or ‘nearly a thousand‘ and more than 200.

There are 60 000 nurses and midwives in NHS Scotland:

Click to access 2019-06-04-Workforce-Report.pdf

See how easy it is to reference the evidence, Mr Williams, if you have any that is.

Let’s be charitable and say they had 500 responses. That’s less than 1% in a self-selecting sample. Utterly unreliable or, as we former researchers used to say, ‘mince.’

So, once you know that, all of the ‘shocking’ percentages go into the mincer too.

Of course, Williams knows all of this. He just doesn’t care. I worry.

21 thoughts on “FAKE NEWS to spread nursing crisis into Scotland

  1. Your summary “mince” is altogether too charitable..
    Even though the Save the Union Unit grow increasingly desperate, this seems far too infantile to be from their playbook. Alister Jack ?
    The attacks on Scotland are coming thick and fast yet forever “behind the curve”…

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh aye, they are growing increasingly shrill in their failing efforts to tar the S.G with what they desperately promote as “failures”.
    While these fake news sites will never disappear, due to unlimited resources from the British State, hopefully their influence will gradually reduce as time passes, and people realise they are being fed “mince”.
    But they are still dangerous, and the intensity of their attacks will only increase, especially when the F.M announces the date of IndyRef 2.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Herald and the Scotsman are in a race to the bottom…the problem they have is that they keep finding a new bottom.

    The Newspaper industry blame the electronic age and 24/7 TV News for decline in their sales. This is nonsense! Their sales have declined because they lie, spin distort and create news instead of reporting it.

    I would willing subscribe on line to any newspaper who simply reported the facts.

    The reality is I miss good news coverage. I miss quality journalism. I have to turn to CNN, Aljazeera, RT etc and try to figure out what I am NOT being told by the “UK MSM”

    The credentials “journalist” is now on a par with that sheriff badge you got in a box of cereal.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. What made the story even less credible was the failure to mention that nurses in Scotland do not graduate burdened with huge debt unlike their counterparts in England.

    Not only do student nurses and midwives in Scotland get their university fees paid for them by the SG but they get a bursary too. In the academic year 2020-21 there were 4206 places for 1st year student nurses/midwives with a bursary set at £10,000.

    There is certainly a case for increasing nurses pay but this sort of reporting and ‘survey’s does not help that compelling case.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The media in the USA who aided and abetted Trump have much to answer for.
    Likewise,in the UK where they promoted Brexit,knowing full well the consequences.
    Here in Scotland,the media ownership is anti Scottish independence,not so much for the fact of independence but the threat that a successful social democratic Scotland,free from Westminster control,would represent to the British establishment and by extension,the vested interests of those who own the media.
    People like Trump and Johnson will always lie to promote themselves but when they are assisted by the “free” press,then we are living in a dangerous place.
    Blogs like this are absolutely essential in exposing their propaganda.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. “Of course, Williams knows all of this.
    But his boss has told him that his ‘Scotlan Is Crap Count’ (SICC) is a bit below expectation and it’s time he did something about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I see that Common Weal’s Source Direct newsletter this morning is amplifying this same claim, but unlike here it does so uncritically:

    “The majority of Scottish nurses are willing to take strike action while feeling undervalued by government with one in three forced to skip meals to feed their family or to save money during the coronavirus crisis (Herald)”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. ‘Or to save money during the coronavirus crisis’. Skipping meals is one thing, but ‘to save money’ as a priority is surely quite a different matter altogether. These BritNat rags really want people to believe their lies don’t they. No wonder at the end of each day, there are tons of them still sat on shop shelves, all ready for the trash bin. Trash the propaganda, a waste of paper, as if the planet needs that surplus to requirements rubbish right now.


  8. Perhaps this explains things a little…. I wonder how many people know that the BBC has a dedicated department for ‘Disinformation’.. I didn’t but yes the Head (name forgotten) was interviewed live and yes on the BBC to tell us a little about the steps being taken in the US media to restrict wee Donald T’s rants. I wonder he found the time as he must have his hands full with the Scot Gov and the SNP.
    Secondly and more to the point as you keep reminding us John about the ‘Fake’ news the Herald and others spew out it concerns me more that the Scot Gov is not pursuing these people and the irresponsible nature of their ‘disinformation’ that maybe causing unnecessary worry amongst its small band of gullible readers. I don’t know if a FOI request might reveal this.. anyone?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Starmer has a slot on the BEEB right now, to waffle on…and….on….and…on about British This, and British That!
    And Oh! Boris is a baddie. Who knew?

    The Background is blue–to purple—- to mauve.
    A purply mauve Tory. But a Tory just the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. As background on ‘Nursing United’ (NU), this is from Nursing Notes in December, 2020:

    “RCN legal advice on ‘unregistered trade union’ Nurses United leaked”

    ‘A leaked draft legal opinion gathered by RCN ( Royal College of Nursing) from the prominent London law firm Bates Wells reads; “In our view, it is likely that NU is a “political organisation” and/or involvement with it comprises “political activity”, on the grounds that it exists to affect political policy – so activity in support of its objectives is political activity as those objectives are inherently political”.’


    Liked by 3 people

  11. When they talk about ‘skipping meals’ they are definitely taking that from what is happening in England. It was reported recently (saw it on a WordPress blog in ‘recommended’ section) that STUDENT nurses in ENGLAND are going without meals and even some are homeless sleeping on friends’ floors, because, unlike in Scotland, they have to go into debt to study because the EngGov removed their student bursary, (what a bloody disgrace!) and their study involves actual frontline work as part of their training. That is what is happening, in England.
    Do the people of England know about this?


  12. Highlighting the use – or rather the misuse – of primary research/survey evidence has become a feature of this site over the months and years. There have been many examples of bad but also of deliberately disingenuous practices.

    I don’t think the example which follows merits any more prominence. I share it just for interest and perhaps some amusement on a fairly dull afternoon. It shows the ‘art’ of framing reports of survey results – regardless of the actual data – being taken to a new level. It was spotted on the Facebook page of ‘Us for Them Scotland’, the group campaigning against school closures during the pandemic.

    Source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/205702040479534/?ref=pages_profile_groups_tab&source_id=102170051532855

    It reports on a self-selecting survey which received 600 responses to an online questionnaire. Us for Them tells us that: “Results were interesting …”.So let’s look at what are termed the “key points’ and how they have been communicated.

    “By the end of last week 37% had not yet been notified by their school as to arrangements for home schooling” – so could this be written as ‘63% had been notified’? Stay with it, there is a pattern developing here!

    “By end of last week 10% of key workers did not know if their child has a place at school.” – so could this be written as ‘90% did know’?

    “By the end of last week 2.7% of vulnerable children did not know if they had a place at school.” – so 97.3% did know?

    “5% of responders do not have access to WiFi or computer equipment.” – so 95% do have this access?

    “30% do not have sufficient WiFi band width.” – but 70% do?

    “10% do not have computer equipment.” – and 90% do?

    “6.5% will need to take holidays or unpaid leave from work to supervise their children …” – so 93.5% won’t have to take holidays or unpaid leave?

    I read to the end waiting for the summary which reflected upon how positive these findings seem to be, especially in such difficult circumstances, albeit not for 100% of respondents. But nothing! (Well after the exemplary effort in negative framing, I didn’t REALLY expect anything else!)

    Rather we get this – note the absence of any numbers this time: “Key theme in commentary coming from parents was real concern as to how they could manage all this again based on awful experiences from the previous lockdown time.” There are then references to “huge concerns” and “common point(s)” on other issues but again without giving any statistical information on what is ‘huge’ and ‘common’.

    The account of the survey results ends with: “Hopefully this gives you a flavour of where we are with home schooling AND why every child should be at school” (my emphasis). The logic in the linkage here escapes me!

    The organisation may be well-intentioned: there may well be a reasoned case to be put in favour of its stance. However, I fail to understand how it believes practices such as this advance its cause. Is it simply unaware; is it content to play to a small base with an already entrenched, immovable opinion regardless of new evidence … and/or simply cynical?

    But to whet your appetite for more, we also learn this from Us for Them Scotland: “Our 2nd questionnaire is ready to go here.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the Scottish government supplied some families with ipads last time round to bridge the gap where kids may not have devices to learn via internet. Also, I need to check again but sure I saw on ScotGov website that there is a fund for parents who have to take time off work due to schools being closed. I have no idea why people say ‘home schooling’ it should be ‘home education’. Education is compulsory, school is not.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I wonder what the situation is in England, I saw a petition being sent to EngGov to supply kids with Pc’s, and free internet access at home. I think it was Manchester, where many do not have access to online learning. Be interesting to find out a bit more on that…will have a look anyway.


  13. I see Christina Pagel from independent sage is following your lead John and using travelling tabby on her twitter site. I believe travelling tabby has been created, organised and produced by a 25 year old student from Dunoon. This young man’s presentation skills are excellent.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Have not seen this ‘UK news’ site before.

    This says ‘UK’ but they mean England. Maybe worth keeping an eye on, they seem to promote ‘BBC bitesize’. That was not high on our list of go to sites for learning when home educating, there are an almost infinite amount of sites available, worldwide it’s called the WWW for a reason.


    Liked by 1 person

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