Reporting Scotland attempts to scare with unreliable English survey on nursing

Research by the Royal College of Nursing has found nine in ten believe a shortage of staff on their last shift could have compromised patient safety. The Nursing union surveyed more than 20 000 frontline staff across the UK.

This is a Reporting Scotland only editorial choice, to headline a UK-wide survey by a trade union with no check on the credibility of its evidence nor of its relevance for NHS Scotland, which, as you may remember has 50% more nurses per patient than NHS England (

The story does not feature on the BBC Scotland website but does on the BBC UK site. There is no mention of Scotland in the report.

The sample of 20 000? Only a self-selecting (‘squeaky wheel’) 6.2% of the 321 000 nurses in England is mentioned and who know how many were from Scotland? There is no methodology nor is their detail of sampling.



8 thoughts on “Reporting Scotland attempts to scare with unreliable English survey on nursing

  1. A puzzling choice until you read in the UK article “Ms Cullen will set out her concerns in detail during her speech to the RCN’s annual conference, which is getting under way in Glasgow.”
    – Cue a Lisa Summers or Glenn Campbell (heavily edited) video interview on Mis-Reporting Scotland this evening, with cameos from Tsunami Baillie giving CPR to a well dressed dummy (ACH him) and Disaster Gulhane in scrubs saving someone’s life perhaps ?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can just imagine how this is being portrayed but I never watch BBC Scotland for the very reason that Scotland’s relatively good performance is never broadcast! I wondered if Prof John could take a look at this? Pupils didn’t have to get a voucher. All pupils had a credit card type of card – paying and non paying. Secondary pupils like to be with their peers who tend to shun school meals in favour of fast food outlets, much to the chagrin of health promoting teachers! Guardian today has this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To be fair to the RCN, the full report on its survey is provided at the link below, including the set of questions asked, analysis of responses give including sample sizes by nation.

    The main problems with the survey are: (a) yes, it’s a self-selecting sample not a random one; and (b) many of the questions – asking for just yes/no/don’t know answers – are framed in ways that anyone wanting something better/different is bound to answer in a particular way. This is regardless of how ‘seriously impactful’ they might regard the matter in question.

    On key issues for the RCN, it would have been helpful – at least for the public – to know ‘how serious’ or ‘how bad’ are the issues being investigated. This could be done by stating a proposition and then asking respondents to select from (say) strongly agree/ agree/ neutral/ disagree/ strongly disagree options. (cf. Lickert Scale)

    Picking up the point made in the blog post about differences in staffing levels. If the number of nurses per head of population across the four nations varies significantly, it would be a public service for a specialist health journalist within the BBC to ask the obvious question: why is this RCN survey finding similar concerns in each of the four nations whilst nurse staffing levels in each are so different?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. BBC Northern Territories.
    Bringing you the news straight from the Scottish Office.

    Editor— Hi Jack.
    Continuity—Lord Baron Afford-a-Bung.
    Best Boy–Dug Drossie of the Byres.
    Script–Juan Kerr + Micky Gove (dance the night away).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think I know why they are going big on this in the Scottish media today. Tomorrow, 7th June the next quarterly workforce report for NHS Scotland is due to be published so obliterate it with all the noise about an iffy survey beforehand.

    Here is a link to the summary of the last NHS Scotland Workforce Report for the quarter ending Dec 2021

    Note: over the last 10 years the total workforce has increased by almost 20%. The vacancies in each category – nursing, medical/dental, allied professions etc – seem to be running roughly, very roughly, at around 10% or so. I shall leave you to work it out accurately – I’m off for a swim.

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.