Ross, Sarwar and Cole-Hamilton undereducated bloodhounds

Catching up, six hours after BBC Breakfast reported the same, the opposition leaders are platformed by BBC Scotland:

  1. Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross says “unnecessary lives are being lost that could have been saved” because of pressure on Scotland’s health service
  2. And Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar highlights the case of a 55-year-old man who died in the stairway of his flat while waiting for an ambulance
  3. Mr Swinney acknowledges the pressures and says a “whole system” approach is being taken to make improvements to the ambulance service, A&E and the wider NHS
  4. But Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton says the Scottish government has to stop blaming the coronavirus pandemic on its failure to run the NHS

It’s not even vaguely true.

They tried the same story a week ago.

I wrote then:

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has estimated that more than 230 people have died in Scotland this year because of long delays in emergency departments. No such data is collected so, based on their assertion that data show that for every 67 patients waiting 8-12 hours ‘one of them will come to harm’, they then just use that to divide the total waiting for that time in 2021 to come up with their 230.

This is shoogly peg statistics as any student would know.

Leaving aside the uncertainty of how ‘coming to harm’ becomes ‘die’ in the headline, doesn’t the triage system ensure that those at risk of dying have been prioritised and it is those not at risk who wait longer? Is the head of the RCEM Scotland suggesting that this does not happen for some reason and that his colleagues are making mistakes?

As for today:

Parts of NHS Scotland are no doubt under heavy pressure but the overall figures deny a nation-wide crisis.

First, A&E waiting times:

In Scotland during September 2021, 76.1% of attendances at A&E services were seen and resulted in a subsequent admission, transfer or discharge within 4 hours.

In September 2021, NHS England A&E departments saw 64% within 4 hours

In September 2021, NHS Wales A&E departments saw 66.8% within 4 hours

The Northern Ireland figures have been delayed to 12 November but in June, only 59.7% were seen within 4 hours.

These are big differences when you remember they mean thousands more patients being seen on time on Scotland than they would have in the rest of the UK/

Second, availability of beds:

In England, there are 415 people for every bed but in Scotland, only 265 for every bed. So, Scotland has almost twice as many hospital beds per head of population than England and Northern Ireland and significantly more than Wales.

Third, nurses:

Scotland has 50% more nurses, per head of population, in the first than NHS England. The current vacancy rate for nurses in England, is 10.3%, 30% higher than in Scotland.

Fourth, GPs and consultants:

According to the latest available published information, the number of hospital consultants in Scotland per 100,000 population is 101 WTE (whole or full-time equivalent), compared to 86 WTE in England and 81 WTE in Wales. According to the latest available published information, the number of GP’s in Scotland per 100,000 population is 92 (headcount), compared to 73 (headcount) in England and 70 (headcount) in Wales.


6 thoughts on “Ross, Sarwar and Cole-Hamilton undereducated bloodhounds

  1. All very true and as I posted earlier don’t forget the anti SNP post FMQs with the likes of Tory telegraph creep today,don’t know the the truth about the trip to Gibraltar but a dig about that as well.Who were the others on the trip?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Truth is the first casualty of war.
    And it is war.
    It is a war on Scotland, with fake stats, counterfeit claims, exaggerations, omissions and outright lies.
    The battleground is the media, but the media is also a combatant.

    It is important to recognise that the Brit Nats make no proud boasts about services where they govern.
    That is the TRUTH is because they are incompetent, spend less, have less staff, are less efficient and operate at a lower grade than in Scotland.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Scottish Ambulance Service press release dated 10 November, 2021:

    ‘Notes to Editors: Between April and September 2021, 210 new Accident and Emergency staff have been recruited and trained.

    ‘We are accelerating our Demand and Capacity Programme recruitment to increase the number of new staff by 356 between October and March 2022. In October and November, 179 new staff will join the service. A further 177 will be recruited by March 2022.

    ‘Purple Category (our most critically-ill patients) 30-day survival data is collated three months in arrears in order to validate the figures. … the 30 day survival rate for these patients has shown a month on month improvement with the data at end May 2021 sitting at 53.4% survival rate – our HIGHEST EVER level. (my emphasis)


    ‘Notes to Editors’? Any in the corporate media or the BBC in Scotland interested in positives?

    Liked by 4 people

      1. It appears that operational performance statistics for the Scottish Ambulance Service are made public through Board papers. Not sure if there is any other published source. The Board appears to meet every c.2 months.

        Each Board meeting has this agenda item: ‘Board Quality Indicators Performance Report’.

        The most recent report is the one presented to the Board on 29 September, 2021. Lots of information provided, including time series data back to April 2019 on service ‘demand’ and ‘response’. Chart CU1.2.2 gives the ‘Volume of Patient 30 Day Survival Critically Unwell Patients’ metric: latest figure is for May 2021. Other metrics are more up to date.


        Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton says the Scottish government has to stop blaming the coronavirus pandemic on its failure to run the NHS’

    For perspective, from the Nuffield Trust health think tank on England (11 November 2021): ‘Health and care system stretched beyond its limits as winter approaches’

    ‘Responding to the NHS monthly performance stats from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Research Sarah Scobie said:

    “We are only at the beginning of a long and difficult winter and it is already clear the health and care system is stretched beyond its limits.

    “NHS and care staff are working furiously hard, but addressing the substantial weight of unmet and serious care needs rebounding from the pandemic means longer waits for patients and the ability to meet long-existing standards of care is slipping further out of reach.

    “A&E and ambulance services are visibly struggling as record levels of patients come forward with more serious needs, in some cases having put off seeking care because of Covid. One in 10 people are now waiting nearly two hours for an ambulance for life-threatening conditions including strokes and heart attacks.

    “There has also been a further fall in the speed at which patients start cancer treatment after a referral from GP, despite national guidance to reduce these waits back to pre-pandemic levels. Over 30% of patients referred are waiting over two months with delays having a serious risk on health outcomes. It is worrying that more people are dealing with managing these serious conditions at home as they wait for care.’


    Liked by 3 people

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