Demonising SNP leaders: Only in Scotland is NHS bullying blamed on government

From BBC England today:

Whistleblowers at one of England’s worst performing hospital trusts have said a climate of fear among staff is putting patients at risk.

Former and current clinicians at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Trust allege they were punished by management for raising safety concerns, a BBC Newsnight investigation found.

One insider said the trust was “a bit like the mafia”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-63827648

In an extended report, there is no mention of the English Health Secretary and no opposition politician accuses him of anything.

In a far less dramatic story of bullying in NHS Highland, in 2019, BBC Scotland used this image:

This is no one-off. BBC Scotland almost always politicises a health problem. BBC England, Wales and N Ireland almost always do not.

See below how hospital deaths were used to platform Scottish Labour attacks but were not politicised in England:

Compare these two, below, on the coverage of baby deaths in NHS Scotland and England:

It’s down at the bottom in the centre.

How about a hospital build delay in Scotland, Birmingham and Liverpool?

On ambulance waiting times in 2021:

All three SNP health secretaries have faced the same pursuit by news jackals while English, Welsh and N Irish ones have been ignored:

I could dig out more evidence from the TuS archives but you’ve probably had enough.

If not, see: https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2021/09/11/bbc-wales-not-reporting-uks-worst-ambulance-service-not-apologising/

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8 thoughts on “Demonising SNP leaders: Only in Scotland is NHS bullying blamed on government

  1. You should use this to reply to any tweets from MSPs or BBC Scotland reporters and presenters, it needs hammered home as widely as possible. While you could argue that BBC staff are doing a good job at holding Holyrood to account by promoting concerns, the blowing up of opposition accusations and the personalisation focusing on individual ministers is unfair. I still maintain though that it is this scrutiny that has made the Scottish Government achieve better results than the rest of the UK because they know any poor performance will be leapt on, an unintended consequence that works in our favour maybe.

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      1. Exactly. If the ScotGov were acting out of fear of media attacks on them, they’d be wasting their time because they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t in the eyes and ears of the so called media.

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    1. I still maintain though that it is this scrutiny that has made the Scottish Government achieve better results than the rest of the UK because they know any poor performance will be leapt on, an unintended consequence that works in our favour maybe.

      Sorry to disagree, Brobb, but I can’t support the notion that media scrutiny is the reason for better performance. In my view, there are many reasons for this. Firstly, the organisation of secondary care delivery in England via Trusts which continue to use the competitive “commissioning of services” is inherently overly bureauocratic and less efficient compared to the Scottish system of Boards, which also have higher degree of integration with Primary and social care. Then, and you must have read in on this excellent blog many times before, there are higher staffing levels in Scotland, less hospital infections, shorter waiting times, all of which contribute to higher patient satisfaction and better outcomes. I feel there is also better accountability to government, and better maintenance of professional standards because of systems built-in to the operating structure of Health Boards.
      I am not suggesting that everything in Scotland is perfect, or can’t be improved, far from it, but, given the level of resource which flows from the Block Grant, I strongly believe that the Scottish NHS is much more efficient, effective and accountable than healthcare systems in the rest of the UK. That the media attack the Scottish Government at every turn is mainly for political reasons and not about improving healthcare.

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  2. You’re right of course Alan, our NHS is more effective, efficient and accountable for all the reasons you mention. I should have said I believed the scrutiny plays a part and only relating to accountability. Would the other parts of the UK benefit from more scrutiny? I think they would as at the moment it doesn’t matter what happens in England or Wales, any negative report or dismal performance gets mentioned once and then fades from view. Maybe there are teams working away to resolve issues but we don’t really find out as the story is dropped

    Likewise in politics up here with Tory, Labour and Lib Dem opinions. At the moment they can say just about anything and the BBC will report it with little challenge or scrutiny. As a consequence they are simultaneously puffed up with their own importance and enabled to talk rubbish. They might have to sharpen up their approach if pulled up once in a while but could be more effective for it?

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  3. It might come as a surprise to many to find that the UK Health Secretary has not beenresponsible for the performance of the NHS in England since around 2015 when The Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into effect.
    The 2012 Act “sets out a framework in which functions in relation to the health service are conferred directly on the organisations responsible for exercising them.
    The Secretary of State will continue to be under a duty to promote a comprehensive health service, and he will continue to have ministerial accountability to Parliament for the health service.”

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