Hospital beds: This is a political campaign not ‘the’ news

We’ve seen this many times before where only Reporting Scotland and in cohort with them, Good Morning Scotland, have a worrying story to headline that is not featured much elsewhere, even on their own website:

This is another of those stories based not on recently published statistics but on anecdotal evidence from a very small number of medics selected by their trade union, and fed to the likes of Lisa Summer to construct a crisis of sorts for which the ‘SNP Government’ can be blamed if only by implication.

Where is the evidence for a shortage of beds? Where is the evidence of problems with hospital admissions in Scotland at best plateauing and then falling?

There are around 500 in Covid beds. Capacity is around 1 000. Is there a coming tsunami of admissions as cases soar?

Well, yes but only in the other parts of the UK. Infection rates are plummeting in Scotland. Hospital admissions are climbing in England with no sign of a plateau and as infection rates soar out of control thanks to Johnson.

Is that the problem, then, as Reporting Scotland see it? Things are bad in England. Scotland must be presented in a similar light?

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19 thoughts on “Hospital beds: This is a political campaign not ‘the’ news

    1. Last week, unemployment data was reduced. The figure quoted for Scotland was 4.2%, which was described as ‘showing a very slight drop of 0.2%’. We were later told without comment that the figure for the UK as a whole was 4.8%.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Remember, the UK is ‘one country’ or whatever it was Johnson called it, so it stands to
    reason the region of Scotland must be as badly affected by his catastrophic Covid herd immunity tactics as well. There’s only one answer, privatise the UKNHS. No more long waiting times, because there’ll be nothing to wait for, unless you have enough cash in the bank to take out an expensive health insurance policy.

    The Scottish government are working in the interests of the people of Scotland, as are the Scottish NHS, while massively constrained by the next door country’s government. It could hardly be any worse, Covid and Brexit, with a far right wing cabal at the helm in Westminster, brrrr.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “….massively constrained by the next door country’s government”

      This is to share what Jacob Rees Mogg MP said in the Commons on 13 July, 2021 in the debate on ditching EVEL. He is making explicit Westminster’s – and therefore England’s political majority’s – power over the rest of the UK. Indeed he is celebrating its increased power since Brexit.

      ‘As the MAJORITY OF TAXATION IS SET ON A UNITED KINGDOM BASIS and the Barnett formula ENSURES that the level of spending provided for services is PROPORTIONATE TO DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE UNION PARLIAMENT ….”

      And he adds:

      “Since our departure, WE HAVE ONCE AGAIN BEGUN LEGISLATING PROPERLY IN AREAS TOUCHING ON DEVOLVED MATTERS, including trade, health and safety, employment laws and state aid.”



      The implications here are clear: in principle as well as practice, more power, more authority vested in Westminster is seen as strengthening the ‘Union’: this enables what Rees Mogg sees as ” legislating properly in areas touching on devolved matters”.

      And the obvious corollary? Any notion that this politician and his party would countenance a constitutional shift to a federal UK is delusional. From Rees Mogg’s own words, we have confirmation what we already know that the shift in the opposite direction has already begun!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. From the same EVEL debate in the Commons I referred to in an earlier btl contribution, Hansard records this intervention from Tory MP, Harriet Baldwin. It reveals the mindset of an English nationalist: all this UK ‘one nation’, ‘one country’ stuff is all fine only so long as an English majority in Westminster rules.

        ‘… how would he (Rees Mogg) feel if hypothetically, the outcome that was depicted back in 2015—with Alex Salmond having the shadow Business Secretary, the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), in his suit pocket—had come to pass, and the Lord President’s (Rees Mogg’s) constituents in North East Somerset FACED A SITUATION IN WHICH THEY WERE HAVING LAWS MADE FOR THEM WITHOUT THERE BEING A MAJORITY VIEW IN PARLIAMENT IN ENGLAND?’

        Feel free to facepalm in ‘incredulous disbelief’ because from the context Ms. Baldwin was not being ironic!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It’s enough to send a chill down the spine, it’s a soft coup in all but name. The English government already have their jobsworths installed at Holyrood. If there was a vote tomorrow for devolution, what would the result be I wonder? How many people are aware of the power grab who do actually very much value devolution and their sovereignty, in not being servants of the unimaginably rich English royals?


  2. What would happen to devolved NHSs if England privatised?

    If they funded less, would that mean we’d get less funding under Barnett?

    If so, this is something the inhabitants of the devolved “constituent parts” need to know. Because:
    1) Our health is at stake
    2) It’s another “benefit of The Union” that needs highlighting…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You make a valid point regarding the “benefit of the Union”, and, particularly Barnett, because this is a key plank of Labour’s defence of the Union, as in Bodger Broon’s ‘pooling and sharing’. It is a plank of the ‘broad shoulders of the UK’ argument. In a recent interview on Bella Caledonaia former Labour MSP, Neil Davidson deployed it.

      If NHS England is substantially privatised then the Barnett formula allocations to norther Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be reduced.

      Another way of looking at this is that, via our taxation money form NI, Scotland and Wales will be pooled with the contributions of people from England and then shared amongst the cronies in the health corporations (some of whom are former Blair’s and Broon’s cabinet.)

      Liked by 5 people

    2. ‘What would happen to devolved NHSs if England privatised?”

      Whether privatised or not, the key thing will be how much public spending is involved. Of course there may be other knock-on negatives beyond funding that will arise for Scotland from privatisation in England.

      Just on finance, here’s my understanding of the general principles that apply.

      If a Westminster government – elected and empowered by a majority of voters in England – chooses to spend MORE on a public service that is ‘RESERVED’ then taxpayers (personal, corporate etc.) in Scotland, just as taxpayers elsewhere in the UK, may be called upon to pay more.

      If Westminster borrows to cover its increased spend, we in Scotland will contribute to meeting interest payments; we will be allocated a share of the ‘spend’ in the annual GERS data; and not to forget, we will just have to thole the potential negative hit of an ‘opportunity cost’!

      The power to do all this comes from the authority of the Union parliament! The majority of taxation is still set on a United Kingdom basis.

      If a Westminster government – elected and empowered by a majority of voters in England – chooses to spend LESS on public services that are ‘DEVOLVED’ then through Barnett the Scottish Government may receive less (in the short term, perhaps just no increase in) overall funding from The Treasury, unless there is a compensating increase in Westminster funding in England on other ‘devolved’ matters.

      The details on timing of a consequential negative effect is less certain to me. As I understand it, the Barnett formula doesn’t calculate the total value of a devolved government’s block grant: it works out how much the grant should change each year, and adds the change to the previous year’s block grant to come up with the following year’s grant. The Barnett formula is applied to these allocations to come up with the devolved governments’ block grants for the two to three years typically covered by a Spending Review. The formula is applied to changes in the total budgets of departments, not spending on individual projects or programmes.

      The point is Westminster chooses: Holyrood waits before having to accept, aka having to ‘suck it up’!

      Maintaining or improving ‘devolved’ public services in Scotland – specific ones or overall – may be something that a Scottish Government has a democratic mandate to deliver upon. In the face of longer term reduced funding via Barnett and SG will be faced with having to: (a) fail to deliver on its promises, or (b) raise taxes (absent unlimited borrowing and any money printing powers) from its highly restricted set of tax raising powers. (And it’s a restricted set of tax powers dominated by the most unpopular ones always, anywhere with a voting public, viz. personal taxes.)

      The fiscal trap! Without agency – heads we lose, tails we lose!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Maybe we could crowd fund any shortfall 😉 I really meant by shortfall, destructive and damaging cuts to Scotland’s own money that EnglishGov CONdescend to send back, after lifting (thieving) Scotland’s massive revenues and resources to fund vanity projects in the south east of England.

        Anyone see the massive farms in south England with thousands of courgettes rotting in the fields and peppers rotting on the vine? Absolutely bloody criminal.


        1. Why on earth didn’t they let the people who run/use food banks in to pick them? They weren’t getting any money for them anyway.

          That’s even more criminal than letting them rot.


  3. Great piece of debunking John. . . . Simply put easy to digest.

    Just heard Lisa Summers . . . . The words “Shortage of Beds” stuck out.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. ..and in the UK report, Pym, the health correspondent, said the NHS “will cope” but there will be cancellation of all sorts of things. Also speculation that English NHS staff “might” get 3% rise.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Prior to the FM’s briefing yesterday, they also had that Evans woman (NHS Intelligence, or whatever it’s called) going on about “hospitals” – implying all of them – “struggling.”

      She was asked specifically and very positive – one might almost say upbeat – in her response. Perhaps I wouldn’t normally be so quick notice such things, but this was blatant.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Well observed and commented John, though I suspect this is yet another diversionary story, likely to surface in UK bulletins to reassure England’s “freedom day” lovers that life north of the most northern north is grim…

    That they get away with this claptrap is frustrating, Scotland’s public service broadcaster, servicing in the sense of the bull and cow…

    Liked by 2 people

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