More unreliable ‘research’ to scare Scots

From the Herald’s ever-unreliable scare-story hound, today:

Two quick responses.

First, the research compares data from different years and for Scotland, is four years old at best. See:

Sources for national stage at diagnosis data: 

  1. Sources for England and Wales National Prostate Cancer Audit short report Sept 2022:
  2. Additional data for England: Cancer registration statistics, England 2019  
  3. Additional data for Wales: Cancer incidence in Wales, Public Health Wales, 2002-2019:  
  4. Scotland: Cancer staging by deprivation, Public Health Scotland, 2014-2018  
  5. Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queen’s University Belfast, 2020   

Second what is the actual source of the ‘third of Scots’ based on Prostate Cancer UK’s 35% figure? I can’t find it in any of their citations.


13 thoughts on “More unreliable ‘research’ to scare Scots

  1. Ms McArdle is misusing the Prostate Cancer UK’s press release and applying the data to Scotland. Her argument will be that Scotland is part of the UK, ergo, a UK figure must apply to Scotland.

    There is also a continuing issue with press releases from charitable organisations whereby they quote selectively and without context or qualification data which they know will be seized on by the media. It is a wilful and cynical tactic to try to shock the public into donating more and politicians into increasing funding. Now, my wife and I donate substantially to a range of charities each year because they do essential work and have a lot of expertise, but we do get irritated by performative outrage being used as a strategy. It is both unethical and can be a disincentive.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Or is it even worse than this?
    What jumped out at me was this “The charity also warned that referrals were not rising fast enough to catch up with a backlog of missed cases during the pandemic”.
    Why would referrals not be rising (fast enough or not). Is it because Scottish men prefer to keep their head somewhere the sun dont shine, and dont go to be tested till its too late? If so, the ‘Scottish gap’ is not a failure of the health system, but of Scottish men to come forward for testing? The example of Gareth Jones (55-year-old surgeon from Cambuslang) later on is perhaps an instance – someone who wasnt even tested till the disease was quite advanced because he didnt go for the test.
    My suspicion is that the charity will be chewing the carpet over this. What was perhaps a press release to encourage Scottish men to be tested at a higher rate (hence citing their 30 second check) has been politicised.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. England A&E waiting figures just released and they are notably worse than last month! And again, worse ever and by some margin.

    ‘49.6% of patients were seen within 4 hours in type 1 A&E departments compared to 54.5% in November 2022, 61.2% in December 2021 and 68.6% in December 2019. This is the lowest reported performance since the collection began.’

    Just heard BBC Radio 4 news at 11am. It referred to poor ambulance performance stats and to improved stats for treatment waits in England BUT NO MENTION. of this quite remarkable change in the A&E performance statistic! This should be – this is – remarkable news!

    For full details see:

    I have no time to delve further just now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I heard a news broadcast this morning – Classic FM – it mentioned the A&E figures but quoted 64%. As soon as I heard that I knew whoever had released them had included Minor Injury Units to boost the figures and hide the true figures for actual A&E departments.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Here is Hugh Pym, BBC Health Correspondent, reporting the figure of 64% for A&E in England in a tweet

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Pym has previous on gaslighting the England A&E figures, but it has become a particularly political hot potato with strikes currently.

          The other aspect frequently glossed over in comparisons is the clocks are different – In England it can stop and restart rendering meaningful comparison impossible where Scotland starts the clock at initial triage whether they be in the back in ambulance or arrived in A&E.

          I’m not in the slightest diminishing the pressures the ambulance service and NHS are working under both sides of the border, but it’s fairly clear a spanner has been thrown in the Tory gaslighting machine when the media have given Barclay a roasting before midday and even BBC UK have this as prime story

          Do note from the article the opening lines from Jayne McCubbin and Nick Triggle – “Ambulance bosses have apologised to the family of a man who died after he had a heart attack but no ambulance came”. Not a solitary photo of the PM or the Health Minister appears nor are they mentioned, nor are there on call comments from a 1 day a week GP, nor a roundabout, nor ACH-him with the brolly.

          THAT’s England’s version of “BBC IMPARTIALITY” James, Glenn, Lazy, etc., etc…

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Well I can demolish that particular article for the bollocks it is. Tuesday this week I went to Ayr hospital with a wee problem, I had seen my doctor a couple weeks or so before Christmas, antibiotics were prescribed and told that it would be better if I saw a consultant. Just a week later I received a letter with an appointment for Tuesday past. While waiting to see the consultant I read some of the notices on the wall, one informed me that I could be there for up to three hours as it may be necessary to carry out various tests then and there rather return later. After a couple of rather invasive tests using various objects, all carried out by a second Consultant my insides were declared to be in pristine condition. The whole process took two hours even though the place was really quite busy.
    I hope you don’t mind me sharing this but I get really angry with this kind of fearmongering. People having to visit hospital for any kind of ailment should not be bombarded with lies and misinformation about the kind of service they will recieve. By the way, I phoned my doctor in the morning and had an appointment at the surgery the very same day.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I happened to hear the “Male prostate Cases higher in Scotland” piece on BBC Radio 4 about 08:40 this morning. A Medical expert expert on prostate cancer from London was interviewed.

    Although the BBC asked the Medical expert why there would be differences, the expert mentioned messaging, societal influences, in short many factors. Similar he said to the early days of getting women to come forward for breast screening.

    Throughout the interview no political parties were mentioned, no percentages, just the experts view of why there might be a difference. It was interesting to listen to, with none of the “but..” interjections that we come to expect from Good Morning Scotland.

    I am not sure if there are indeed any differences or its another made-up story from the Herald, but it was refreshing to hear a professional interview rather than what we have come to expect from a BBC Scotland effort.

    And as for the Herald 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. 75% of men dying of prostrate cancer were 75 or over. The average life expectancy in men. 750.

    Dying of prostrate cancer under the age of average life expectancy is extremely rare.- 250 people. Genetics and lifestyle a consideration.


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