I understand why a political leader cannot be seen to get into a spat with ‘researchers’ and not go for Marr’s jugular when he, as before, repeats dodgy stats as if they were facts.
First the Royal College of Emergency Medicine is not an independent, ‘expert’ group, but essentially a trade union. OK, a middle-class professional association, but still one with an agenda, first and foremost, to protect and promote their members pay and conditions. Their claims of 230 dead due to A&E delays are not even remotely credible. See below.
Marr then goes on to imply reduced bed numbers have been a factor in this. The FM does correct him but the damage is done.
Here’s what I wrote two weeks ago, still rebutting all of Marr’s shoddy journalism today.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has estimated (Why did the FM say ‘extrapolate?) 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.
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.