One nurse burned out is tragic but not a national crisis

Once more BBC Scotland feasts on a single case and attempts to make a wider crisis out of it. The tragic tale of a young nurse fleeing the Covid ICU wards to return to Ireland tells us little about the circumstances of the other 55 000. That they only have one, tells us something potentially quite positive about the resilience of NHS Scotland.

In an effort to beef up their argument, BBC Scotland contacts a union rep and tells us:

Hilary Nelson, a ICU nurse and safety representative with the RCN, said the pay deal was critical for attracting more people to the profession and stopping nurses leaving.

She told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland: “Nursing is tired. It’s suffering a lot of stress and the pressure is not going away.

“There are not enough nurses for our members to do the job they are expected to do. We just don’t have the workforce to do the job in hand.

The claims are, of course not challenged with any data, simple though it is to find:

Vacancies are up from 6.6% in March 2021 to 7.1% in September 2021 but the current vacancy rate for nurses in England, is 10.3%, 30% higher than in Scotland.

As for the number of nurses ot do the job, NHS Scotland has 50% more nurses, per head of population, in the first place, than NHS England. This from 2019:


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11 thoughts on “One nurse burned out is tragic but not a national crisis

  1. For BBC Hootsmon, one swallow (or a pigeon) makes (Lisa) Summers day.

    The Evening Standard is claiming that Sarah Smith, on her way to America, apparently, was “a successful Scotland Editor”.
    Only if you think Scotland is a colony, and the Raj can be suplimented by bolting on a few “locals”.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. And why this article today?

    The BBC as other news media can opt to amplify whatever they wish and whenever they wish to do so. However, when monitoring an organisation providing (supposedly) a public service it is legitimate to ask ‘why today?’

    We learn from the article this about the nurse in question:

    – ‘In AUGUST this year she decided she had to step away’ (my emphasis)
    – there is a link in the article to an RCN source but this is dated 7 SEPTEMBER, 2021, and
    – the official vacancy statistics that are referred to in the article were published on 7 SEPTEMBER 2021.

    I’ve been unable to locate a BBC News website article on this subject at the time of the NHS Scotland data release back in September ( but then the search facility on the BBC website doesn’t fill me with confidence.)

    So why is this news today? Is it news because it’s new i.e. the successful sourcing of a vivid, exploitable ‘salient exemplar’?

    Feedstock for Reporting Scotland this evening I wonder?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. ‘Once more BBC Scotland feasts on a single case and attempts to make a wider crisis out of it.’

      Indeed. This is now a common practice in BBC Scotland’s journalism. (It’s also much loved by Labour politicians!). When set alongside BBC Scotland’s characteristic ‘perspective bypass’ in its reporting and when reinforced by ‘bias by omission’, it delivers a potent ‘public service’!

      In an article in the US magazine Wired in 2017 (by Emily Dreyfuss) we learn that: ‘The human brain has a built-in tendency to conflate the aberrant with the norm. The news industry—and certain politicians—know this all too well.’

      Dreyfuss adds: ‘The aberrant occurrence is the story you’ll read and the picture you’ll see. It’s news because it’s new.’

      ‘The problem here is not just that this singling out creates a distorted, fish-eye lens version of what’s really happening. It’s that the human psyche is predisposed to take an aberration—what linguist George Lakoff has called the “salient exemplar”—and conflate it with the norm. This cognitive bias itself isn’t new. But …. it’s newly exploitable.’

      ‘Psychologists call this bias the “availability heuristic, … “It basically works the way memory works: you judge the frequency, the probability, of something based on how easily you can bring it to mind,” says Northeastern University psychologist John Coley. “Creating a vivid, salient image like that is a great way to make it memorable.”

      (Check out the photographic image of the nurse in today’s BBC article – of someone young, looking very tired, with staring eyes, and unpleasant facial marks presumably caused by wearing some kind of PPE.)

      Dreyfuss tells us that psychologists stress that the ‘brain has to work this way, to a certain extent—otherwise you’d have a very hard time differentiating and prioritizing the avalanche of inputs you receive throughout your life. “It’s not a cognitive malfunction,” says Coley. “But it can be purposefully exploited.”

      The Wired article warns: ‘The daily news at its worst becomes a catalog of salacious salient exemplars that only serve to distort the reality journalism in its most ideal version aspires to reflect. Ann Marie Lipinski, curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard argues journalists’ failures over the use of salient exemplars aided Donald Trump during his campaigning. By focusing on negative stories, the news helped to paint a picture of an America in need of “being made great again.”

      The equivalent in Scotland? By focusing on negative stories, the news helps to paint a picture of a Scotland in need of the Union.

      The Wired article concludes: ’… reporters need to get smarter about covering the non-aberrant, to show that commonplace does not equal mundane. It may not be rare, but it’s reality.’ What chance of that here any time soon?


      Liked by 4 people

  3. Off-topic but another example of Pathetic Quay seeking out their ‘go to’ moan-a-minute’ spokesperson on hospitality (a certain Mr Mcleod) on BBC RADIO SCOTLAND (Drivetime) @ approx 5-05 this evening:-

    Andrew Black(BBC): ” So what are your thoughts on possible extension of covid passport requirements as we approach Christmas Mr McLeod?”

    Moan-a-Minute McLeod: ” DISASTER!!!….ARMAGEDDON!!!…NAE VIDENCE!!!….SNP BADDDDDDDDD………..”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Regarding stories like this.

    These type of stories will be linked to the local council elections in May 2022.

    Under new electoral law, a term now lasts five years.

    The Nursing Times quotes a Scottish government spokesperson

    “Thanks to nine consecutive years of staffing increases we have an extra 25,000 staff working in our health service, an 11% increase in qualified nurses and midwives and a steady rise in places on pre-registration nursing and midwifery undergraduate training programmes,”

    There’s more..

    In August the Scottish government abolished NHS dental charges for everyone under the age of 26.

    “Free treatment for people aged under 26 will take effect immediately and there is no “opt-in” required. Those who started a course of NHS treatment before their 26th birthday will also be eligible.”

    Meanwhile in England..

    BBC Breakfast (yesterday) on twitter asked people to get in touch with them if they have had problems trying to find an NHS dentist, and on BBC News 24 (this morning) Victoria Derbyshire devoted a lot of time to the same issue.. the lack of NHS dentists in England.

    It included many contributions from people (online) telling their experience of trying to get treatment.

    It was not for the squeamish.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes read that piece being promoted by BBC Scotland earlier and my first thought was who initiated contact and why after 2 months gone ?
    My second thought was why Chloe would have any interest in raising the issue having packed it all in 2 months previously to work in the family business?

    “She’s now moved back to the Irish countryside to work in the family business while she studies, before embarking on a new career in the property market”

    Then I looked at the primary page photo linking to the article compared to 8 hours ago and wondered whether it was the bins I was smelling from Propaganda Quay, or a waft from Shieldhall…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. In the same bulletin, pinched cheeks and thin lipped the anchor fronted a pieace of the ‘controversial’ passport initiative, telling the viwers that opposition politicians and ‘the hospitality Industry’ were ‘angry’ at the scheme being broadened to other venues like pubs.
    A wee clip of the £200,000 a year 4 jobs Roos on his pins in the chamber declaring that ‘businesses’ are fuming because of the SNP dithering and lack of clarity.
    We are in the biggest health crisis that any of us will ever face.
    of course our health professionals, Police, and emergency services are stretched to the limit.
    We are all stretched to the limit. I have not been across the door save for emergency food runs, jag appointments, and a visit to the doctor since mid March 2020.
    My wife could not attend her own mother’s funeral.
    Bu somehow, the ‘crisis’, threatened strikes by nurses, and landlords bleating on about the inconvenience of checking customers’ Covid details, is a step too far?
    We have thousands of cases a day, nudging 1000 in hospital, and sadly, people are still dying.
    But no, BBC Jockland blames ther SNP for everything, from the pandemic, to ‘the Hospitality Industry’ not being able to help spread the virus not being able to shovel drink down unprotected folks’ throats for profit.
    Let the bodies pile high.

    BBC Scotland is dying. iT knows that its days are numbered.

    When the last helicopter takes off from the roof top in Plantation Quay, let’s hope they turn the lights off.
    The linesman Dross was on last night, declaring that last week’s vote to ‘reform’ the Standards Committee was ‘wrong’.
    Then why did he abstain?
    Grubby little man.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aye Jack, they’ve put the band together for another run at “the ‘controversial’ passport initiative” – A new article in prime place on the BBC Scotland-Politics web-page over possible extension of it’s use, hosts a negativity choir only missing Laurie’s Sergeant Fraser contribution of “Wur doomed” from the chorus.

      Since I last posted on the subject, finally got to the bottom of the “Certificat Verde” (EU Vaccine Passport) at a local B&Q equivalent – The government here put this on a statutory footing, said B&Q are applying it nationwide (no passport no entry), inevitably this will expand…

      There is no outcry over this from any in the media, now compare that with the confected stooshie in the UK, and Scotland in particular at the merest suggestion of it, dangerous politics at it’s very worst.


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