The statistics say the QEUH is safe – so it’s the media that have really gone wrong

From Helen McArdle today:

How do we know whether or not a hospital is safe? It is a question that has come to the fore amid fresh controversy over infections apparently contracted during treatment at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow .—really-gone-wrong/

Ten days ago, I feel I answered the first bit of that question. More on the second, ‘eh whit?’ or non sequitur part, later.

In terms of actual mortality in Glasgow hospitals from April 2019 to March 2020, the period in which we saw the deaths supposedly linked to infections, all of the Glasgow hospitals had expected patient mortality rates and the Queen Elizabeth actually had a better than expected rate with nearly 200 less deaths than predicted based on previous years:

The wee orange blob is Edinburgh’s Western General.

Just over a year later, QEUH is even a wee tad (0.2%) better with fewer deaths than predicted while Edinburgh’s Western is getting better too.

So, how can a supposedly intelligent person ask: The statistics say the QEUH is safe – so what’s really gone wrong?

Really gone wrong? Really? The statistics don’t tell the truth, based on?

Based on a very small handful of stories pushed by you and BBC Scotland, fed by and starring Anas Sarwar and other ghouls, about two or three mothers whose children died, sometimes years ago now, and where a fungus was detected in the water supply.

An independent investigation finds no connection between the water supply and the deaths. Sarwar and the mums fight on, backed by a dodgy lawyer. The story is the most covered of recent years. Sarwar shouts the named of a dead child at every opportunity to be in the room with the FM.

Nothing like the media circus ever appears in England, Wales and Northern Ireland despite incidents of far greater concern with far more loss of life.

What’s really gone wrong? The political and media culture in Scotland has gone wrong. It’s become a form of Punch & Judy show where official statistics, produced by impartial experts so, so much more informed than our ‘health correspondents’, can be doubted in public to satisfy people like Sarwar.

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16 thoughts on “The statistics say the QEUH is safe – so it’s the media that have really gone wrong

  1. What a way to frame a story, such word gymnastics, that’s not journalism, it’s propaganda. The BritNats are desperate, the Herod is just another British establishment anti SNP anti Scottish rag. The Herod should be reporting on the cabal in London with their lies and corruption, informing the people of Scotland on every front page and cover to cover, about what is REALLY going on, and what REALLY lies ahead for their country, their lives and livelihoods, their future and their childrens future, if Scotland doesn’t escape the cesspit so called UK. I’m sure going on the past ten plus years, statistics would reveal the devastating, destructive impact on the lives of too many of the people of Scotland at the hands of the Tories and their Labour pals in London. Massive inequality is the BritNat Tories’ real agenda, and if they have anything to do with it there will be no SNHS to complain about in the next few years!
    The rags like the Herod do the people of Scotland a great disservice, but that is why they are there, and it’s why the English cabal want to restrict peoples’ access to the
    evil ‘social media’, because many people are seeing snippets of what REALLY goes on behind the scenes in the British state, and it shows that something is very very wrong in the UKok.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. It is the “Ah, but ….” strategy deployed by propagandists.

    Whenever you refute one of their ‘arguments’, they reply, “Ah, but, what about ….?”

    This usually refers to a completely different topic or focusses an a single aberrant datum. Even if the probability of that particular datum is very small, it is immediately inflated by, “It is just the tip of an iceberg”.

    Or, there is the Homer Simpson response, “You can’t believe statistics. 57% of people say that.”

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Once it was the “War of Jennifer’s Ear”.
    Now Labour/BBC Hootsmon et al, have escalated to defcon 1 (the highest level), in their shroud-waving “War of the Dead Babies”.

    In medieval times, dead people were dug up, so they could be tried and executed by the State.
    Is THAT the future with Starwars?
    Nurses and doctors dragged away in chains, to the Brit Nat Gulag?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The thing to remember is that despite the unremitting stories/propaganda about this hospital and NHS Scotland in general the people of Scotland just a few short months ago re-elected the SNP to be the Scottish Government.

    How that must rankle with the likes of the Herald and Scotsman because it demonstrates beyond doubt how little influence they have. Their unremitting negativity has been ignored because for most people it does not match their lived experience of NHS Scotland or of the other institutions of Scottish life such as Education, Police etc.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. It is a fabricated “scandal” by a media in cahoots with political forces, who see their dwindling audience and support not as a direct consequence of their conspiracy and propaganda, but in spite of it.

    Just as Sarwar was oblivious to the further destruction of his own credibility over “What about Millie Main”, thus is Helen McArdle with this pathetic attempt to keep this disgraceful propaganda piece alive.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. As a result of the NHS-related issues addressed by TuS for some time now I for one have become increasingly aware (TuS is ‘an education’!) of just how incredibly complex is an acute hospital – a highly complex organisational system wrestling with highly complex biological ones. Given this context, the scope to seize on individual incidents and – without giving context or perspective – to amplify these in a pejorative way for political ends is huge!

    For interest and information: monthly data on ‘patient safety incidents’ within NHS Trusts in England are published on a rolling monthly basis through the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS). Incidents are reported both as number of occurrences and by the associated degree of harm – no harm, low, moderate, severe or death.


    As illustrations: BARKING, HAVERING AND REDBRIDGE UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS TRUST reported 2,208 patient safety incidents for October 2021, in eight of which the ‘harm’ was death. EAST KENT HOSPITALS UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST reported 1,464 incidents in the same month, in nine of which the harm was death. I make no judgement on these two Trusts. Indeed looking across 12 months of data from all NHS Trusts, patient safety incidents which cause the ‘harm’ of death are regrettably just not uncommon.

    The organisation NHS Improvement set out in December, 2016 ‘National Reporting and Learning System data principles’. It notes that ‘patient safety incident’ is NOT a synonym for error. ‘The NRLS will include harm unrelated to errors (for example, adverse reactions to medication that could not have been anticipated or prevented) and situations with potential for causing harm that staff recognise and report before they can result in error.’ (my emphasis)

    On interpreting NRLS reports where the degree of harm = death the document states: ‘Although the NRLS definition of death in this context is ‘where death is directly attributable to a patient safety incident’, mortality research has identified THIS IS RARELY CLEAR CUT, and incident reporters often have to make a judgement call.

    ‘NRLS data users can help ensure this is understood by not summarising reported degree of harm with terms such as ‘causing’ death except where this is justified by the text of incident reports after local or independent investigation.’

    Liked by 7 people

  7. So what’s really gone wrong?

    Piss poor journalism Helen that’s what. You take suggestions of “stories” from Unionist politician’s and then dress them up as a major Health scoop only to fall on your backside when the story is proved to be false.

    Why not try an investigation into “The Herald’s falling circulation figures – so what’s really gone wrong”?

    Liked by 5 people

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