Where is the evidence for this claim? Nowhere

This report opens with:

Doctors (sic) leaders say

the British Medical Association in Scotland said

then claiming that the supply has been ‘patchy.’

Reading carefully, you find only one man’s experience, Dr Buist himself, is the basis for the claims. He is not ‘Doctors‘ nor is he ‘British Medical Association in Scotland.’

No doubt, in his position, he has been contacted by other GPs but had that been a flow of any size, surely he’d be able to tell us just how many had contacted him. That he wasn’t able to say his inbox was full, with 123 emails or that he’d received 24 calls confirming the patchiness of the supply, casts doubt on his claims.

There are around 5 000 GPs. How many are complaining?

Delivering the jag is quite lucrative especially when you can use nursing assistants, paid less per hour than the fee for one jag (£12.58), to do it in seconds. Am I being too cynical?

Dr Buist is just a campaigning trade union leader regularly presented as a public health authority by the media. We’ve met him before:


Andrew Buist though described as the ‘chair of BMA’s Scottish GP Committee’, is really just a well-paid, middle-class, shop steward. That does not make him a ‘GP leader.’ Some of his members are unhappy so he is complaining on their behalf. Here’s a fine example of entitlement and lack of awareness: Isn’t a GP practice … Continue reading He’s not a ‘GP leader’ and they don’t know when they’re well off→


This man is no more the ‘Scottish medical chief’ than Arthur Scargill was the chief of mining or Bob Crow was chief of the railways. He’s the leader of the doctor’s trade union, the BMA and he’s cynically prepared to scare you to death so that you’ll accept the need for more doctors and better … Continue reading This is not ‘the chief’ and he’s just a trade union convener stirring things up on behalf of his members→


In the Herald today: THE NHS is facing the worst crisis in its 72-year history, doctors’ leaders in Scotland have warning, saying the entire system could ‘overheat’ because of the combined pressures of winter and Covid and the weight of public expectation. Dr Andrew Buist, Chairman of BMA Scotland’s GP committee, said he believed the SNP government … Continue reading Another trade union secretary stirs it up for his members to imagine an NHS ‘crisis’→

18 thoughts on “Where is the evidence for this claim? Nowhere

  1. This is part of a propaganda campaign Tories are pushing- not subtle….” vaccines are the world beating English Government triumph- because they bought up supplies before anyone else.”
    They had the Welsh Chief executive on Today programme this morning and actually asked why Wales could not “do vaccines” as well as England- In other words-“ we want you to forget the 100,000 dead- and chaos created in England – by making sure it looks as if Scotland and Wales don’t do vaccines as well. Well- they got their answer thank goodness. Apparently the governments are bound by a legal agreement – which must apply to England too- to distribute vaccines according to set numbers. He did not go into details but it would be worth finding out more. The Tories have power over vaccines- how much are they handing out to Scotland and Wales- and when???
    There will be a lot more on vaccines before we are finished – not least the 12 week delay ordered by Westminster.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On the subject of vaccine supplies. It was reported on Frid/Sat – Guardian and CH4 – that Pfizer had announced there would be a reduction in the supply of their vaccine over the 2-3weeks or so while they upgraded their plant in Belgium to increase its manufacturing capacity.

    AstraZeneca has also been hit with supply problems affecting delivery of the vaccine from the manufacturer in Netherlands.

    But of course none of that will be reported in Scotland


    1. They had the UK minister explaining in emollient terms that there was a problem but it was ‘getting sorted’. Then back to BBC Scotland telling us how badly Scotland is doing as” “doctor’s leaders” tell us some surgeries have received no vaccines.”


  3. Those of you who are interested in how the BMA might be trying to do its work in Scotland can,of course, find that on the local BMA website. Below is an extract, on the subject of vaccination, from a piece which Dr Buist sent to Scottish BMA members. Here’s the link.


    “Many of you, like myself, are incredibly keen to get vaccinating. I completely understand your impatience to get started, especially as we see the daily increase in COVID-19 positive tests and the rising admission to hospitals. Supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine is the current rate limiting step in the vaccination programme delivery locally. We must and will do everything possible to accelerate the delivery process where we can, and I know the Scottish Government are working incredibly hard on this but for now, we need to be patient. Supply increase should be imminent over the coming week.

    I am so incredibly grateful that the primary care workforce is once again stepping up to the plate, playing a vital role in these ambitious vaccination programme plans. The current daily COVID-19 figures are disheartening for us all and the mental toil of going back into a national lockdown is great. GPs and our staff are no different from the general public, in what a lockdown means for our personal lives. Many of you, once again, are having to navigate the complex issues of having caring responsibilities, alongside increase workload, as well as the fears we carry, of this virus, for ourselves and our loved ones.

    Please remember BMA support services are there for you if you need them. It is so important that we are all there for another at the moment and the BMA is here for you.

    Look after yourselves.”

    At the same website one can find other pieces written by BMA representatives to their members, neither of which could be reasonably judged to be recruiting membership by scaring potential membership.

    I would ask you to consider that trade unions, by and large, do not attempt to recruit members by scare tactics. It would be counterproductive to do so.

    Also, please note that John has produced zero evidence to support his claim that “he’s cynically prepared to scare you to death so that you’ll accept the need for more doctors…” Just how would that work in practice in this case andmore generally?


    1. sam, Professor Robertson can speak for himself, but my take on this is that the BMA official is allowing himself to be presented in a way which is contrary to the sentiments expressed in the extended piece which you have helpfully provided.

      People in such positions now usually avail themselves of media training so that they can put their messages over accurately. However, despite this their messages can be, and often are distorted by editing.

      One of the main purposes of this site over the years has been to increase awareness of the distortions made by the media and to indicate that there is a pattern to this which indicates that it is wilfully misleading and contrary to the expressed policy of the BBC.

      I was a career long trade unionist and fairly active at different times. My experience of the media was that they were mostly hostile to trade unions and ignored the very nuanced and constructive things that TUs did, not just for their members but for the wider good of the service they were providing, whether this was nursing, plumbing, teaching, mining, social working, baking, etc. However, unions representing what are, broadly, ‘middle class’ employees tended to be given more respect, probably because the hacks had family members who worked in those professions. If a hack’s mammy is a primary school teacher, he’ll be tellt aff pretty sharply if he criticises her profession! He kin dae his ain waashin!


      1. Yes, Alasdair, much of that is true. It is not what John is talking about . He is talking about a TU representative cynically seeking to scare us in order to have greater numbers of doctors. He puts forward no evidence for that while, at the same time, accusing the TU man of failing to put forward any evidence to support a claim that vaccine availability in Scotland is “patchy”.

        First of all trade unions derive their power from their membership. Membership numbers are important so it is of importance to a TU to be in touch with its membership. Trade unions have been described as “managers of discontent”.

        On the other hand, the claim that the general public is sufficiently gullible to wish to complain for more doctors on the strength of one broadcast interview with a BMA representative is risible.

        Vaccine supply is “patchy” as GPs across the UK have been saying.

        Some research has been done into trade unions and their function, which is to engage in collective bargaining, across the EU. The research noted the great diversity of institutions across the countries studied. Despite the diversity of such institutions one theme was common in all the countries studied.It was the hollowing out of collective bargaining.

        The views of one person who actually knew Bob Crow might be of interest to some.



      2. Sam

        ” On the other hand, the claim that the general public is sufficiently gullible to wish to complain for more doctors on the strength of one broadcast interview with the BMA rep. is risible. “

        But, Sam, John didn’t write that, “The general public is . . . . . . to complain for more doctors” .

        “This man is no more the ‘Scottish medical chief’ than Arthur Scargill was the chief of mining or Bob Crow was chief of the railways. He’s the leader of the doctor’s trade union, the BMA and he’s cynically prepared to scare you to death so that you’ll accept the need for more doctors and better pay and conditions for them.

        What he did say was, “you’ll ( the general public) accept the need for more doctors (and better pay and conditions)”

        It is also incorrect to imply that John’s claim was based on “the strength of one broadcast interview with the BMA rep.”
        John has given links to analysis of just some of his previous interviews

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Look John, you’ll need to take this much more seriously. . . .
        Who? When? Where

        Mere words that begin with a W. There are other words that begin with a W and end with . . er.. . . That you could have chosen!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Skipping between the BBC UK news, Scotland and Scotland/Politics this morning the propaganda game is quite obvious.
    UK – Vaccinating over 70s in England, not a cheep on what has been accomplished for the preceding higher priority levels.
    Scotland – Newspapers leading with the stories they started, army vaccinations and “patchy supplies”.
    Scotland/Politics – Has Scotland been slower to vaccinate over 80s?


  5. A sheep who truly appears
    in a sheep,s clothing
    Bah bah black sheep have you any tall stories
    Yes sir Yes sir many bags full
    Because indeed I a fool


  6. Nadhim Zahawi, let the cat out of the bag this morning, when asked by Gary Robertson when the supply of the vaccine would become more reliable Zahawi didn’t blame the Scottish Gov. He answered (correctly) that he is working with manufacturers to get the supply chain up and running. Failing to pin the blame with the Scot. Gov.
    He aint as twisted as the rest of them.


    1. And that because he has gazed upon the crystal ball and stuck his finger into the wind
      He knows where things are going and shall end up as the big picture comes to light
      I believe he is applying himself genuinely
      But also casting his eye to the future as deep down his buddies in the cabinet will be rapidly
      Swept out the door as the results of their utter incompetence unfold but prior they have to pat him upon the back


  7. Nice joke about my gramma.

    There isn’t any evidence that the BMA in Scotland want more doctors in Scotland or want people who watch TV interviews to accept a need for more doctors, with better terms and conditions. It’s a half -arsed way of campaigning for the BMA to do TV interviews without directly saying we want more doctors and better terms and conditions and to explain why they want them.

    So far, there has been no comment about what Dr Buist wrote to his members. He is hardly stirring them up and he is complimentary about the SG.

    John has said a number of times how satisfied with their terms and conditions are Scottish doctors compared with English GPs. Here is the evidence for it.


    “The UK faces major problems in retaining general practitioners (GPs). Scotland introduced a new GP contract in April 2018, intended to better support GPs. This study compares the career intentions and working lives of GPs in Scotland with GPs in England, shortly after the new Scotland contract was introduced…

    …Conclusion Following the introduction of the new contract in Scotland, GPs in Scotland reported significantly better working lives and lower intention to reduce work participation than England.


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