Dr Iain Kennedy again

It’s Dr Iain Kennedy again.

As recently as 29 December, he was everywhere telling the same tale:

Doctor Iain Kennedy is everywhere in the MSM, forecasting doom and scaring the old and vulnerable in a manner quite unworthy of a trained medic

As the ever alert MSM Monitor has noted he fails to mention what his UK HQ has reported:

NHS would not survive without the contribution of overseas healthcare workers, BMA says


Instead, he joins that venal posse of opposition politicians in blaming the ‘SNP Government.’

Again as MSM Monitor has revealed, he seems far too fond of that other part-timer, Sandesh Gulhane MSP (Con):

Kennedy is presented as a top or leading doctor when he’s just the convenor of the Scottish branch of the BMA, a trade union.

Top or leading doctors manage teams of cutting edge specialists in giant hospitals or do the latest research into complex conditions.

As a union rep he’s not even a regular doctor.

The day before BBC Scotland platformed him:

The head [convenor] of Scotland’s doctors union says the NHS is haemorrhaging crucial staff. The BMA’s Iain Kennedy says action’s needed to keep under-pressure health service workers.

‘They’re telling me they they’re not sure if they can go on much longer.’

No doubt all day today across BBC Scotland, TV, radio and the website, we’ll be hearing the above story with not a trace of any numbers or trends in those numbers to help us decide if we can trust this trade unionist any more than say someone from the RMT or the EIS.

BBC Scotland is supposed to fact-check before platforming claims by partisan groups. The BMA, like any other trade union, works in the interests of its members.

As for the numbers. In the past, the BMA has offered us the results of badly implemented internal surveys based on self-selecting and tiny samples suggesting some crisis. This time, they don’t even have that; just ‘they’re telling me.’

It’s not good enough.

Here is some actual evidence, we’ve had here recently:

In September 2022, from the same man:

In the Herald today:

THE NHS “is crumbling and patients are being failed”, according to the new leader of the BMA in Scotland. Dr Iain Kennedy, a GP based in Inverness who took over as chair of the trade union earlier this month, said doctors are more worried now than they have ever been about a looming winter crisis.https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/22828740.new-bma-leader-says-patients-failed-staff-shortages/

GP practices collapsing?

The headcount of GPs in Scotland is 5,195. This is a rise of 74 GPs compared to last year. Prior to 2018, the headcount of GPs had remained fairly constant at around 4,900 since 2011. After 2018, the number of male GPs levelled out while the number of female GPs increased. This resulted in an increase of 209 GPs from 2018 to 2021. https://publichealthscotland.scot/publications/general-practice-gp-workforce-and-practice-list-sizes/general-practice-gp-workforce-and-practice-list-sizes-2011-2021/

They are in England:

Nearly 1.5 million patients have lost their GP in the last eight years after the closure of almost 500 practices, research has suggested.https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/08/29/almost-15m-patients-lose-gp-hundreds-practices-close/

When I searched for ‘Scotland GP practices closing‘, the above was the second hit after reports of closing for the Queen’s funeral. There’s nothing on Scottish GP practices closing to the above effect though there are now fewer but larger ones, typically.

Junior medics quitting for jobs in finance?

The FT has the story of one US ‘doctor’s assistant‘ quitting for something unspecified. In Scotland, the Record has Dr Michael Moronski going to Australia from Glasgow and BBC NE has Clinical Quality Advisor Dr Roelf Dijkuizen leaving NHS Orkney for….who knows…Glasgow?

Two out of more than 5 000 leave?

NHS Crumbling?

NHS Scotland’s workforce has reached a record high of more than 155,000 whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.

The number of doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, and support staff working across Scotland’s hospitals and in communities increased by over 7,000 in the past year alone.

Staffing  levels have now increased for ten consecutive years in NHS Scotland and have grown by over 28,500 (WTE) since 2006, meaning an extra 22.6% staff working in the health servicehttps://www.gov.scot/news/nhs-workforce-at-new-record-high/

Overall? Mince.


15 thoughts on “Dr Iain Kennedy again

  1. I can’t help but wonder if we have more GPs than last year why our surgeries are still operating the way they are now. Actual GP face to face appointments are still like hen’s teeth at our surgery. We go through the process of dealing with the receptionist, booking a telephone call with a doctor (if we are lucky) and the next step is sending a photograph of your injury to the practice. The doctor will look at it and phone you back. All of this instead of making an appointment and seeing a doctor. There are still people who for one reason or other don’t access the Internet – so where does that leave them?


    1. No idea how I managed to post that anonymous comment, anyway, there does appear to be differences in the way surgeries work, my own is very efficient, subjective opinion maybe, anecdotally friends describe similar situations to your own.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you are right. I know folk whose surgeries have gone back to near normal but ours is still sort of in limbo. Don’t know if it’s staffing problems but there are another three practices within the centre and they are all operating the same way. If you are lucky enough to get a face-to-face the whole building is empty except for staff and maybe one or two others at the other surgeries when before there were loads of people waiting for their appointment time.


    2. ‘… why our surgeries are still operating the way they are now. Actual GP face to face appointments are still like hen’s teeth at our surgery

      I don’t for one minute dispute your description – how could I! However, I do have an issue with the implication that your GP practice is ‘typical’: it may be but I’d like evidence before coming to a judgement.

      It is certainly very different from the GP practice that I use where an OPEN SURGERY runs every week day from 9am. Patients can check in from 8am. and must be checked in by 10am in order to be seen that same day.

      Last time I ‘checked in’ at reception at c. 0930hrs it was a busy day: the receptionist gave me an estimated time for when I would be seen (c. 90 minutes later) and explained that if I wished I could go off shop, have a coffee, go for a walk but make sure I returned and checked back in with reception in good time! The practice also has a selection of pre bookable face to face or telephone appointments available every afternoon.

      I’ve just spent c. 20 minutes looking at the websites of a wholly unscientific sample of GP practice websites in Leith and the east end of Glasgow. The websites all look different; they are all differently structured in terms of information provision. More importantly perhaps, there is wide range of service offers in terms of opening times, nature of GP consultations available, how to access an appointment with a GP etc. etc.

      GP practices are businesses holding contracts with their local health board, as I understand it. Presumably, they are held to the terms of their contract but how they operationalise the delivery of that contract – again presumably – is down to the partners in the business, aka the ‘practice’. And as a result, diversity!

      The key issue around whether ‘diversity’ is good or bad is perhaps whether: (a) it is reflecting diversity of local user needs and wants, or (b) it is reflecting diversity around what best suits the business plan operated by the partners in the practice. In some (many?) cases both may be feasible – I don’t have the evidence just the question.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It certainly seems to be a matter of how a GP practice is managed, ours is a mixed bag, it depends who you talk to on reception and which GP you get to see. During the pandemic they were very hands off, telephone consultations being the norm. I’ve heard very different accounts from people in blogs etc about peoples’ experiences of GP services.
        Recently, we had to deal with a serious medical issue for my son, the GP arranged an ambulance, he was seen two hours later in our amazing NHS local hospital (which would not be there if it wasn’t for the ‘SNP government’ because Labour started to dismantle it and planned to close it down when in power at Holyrood) and was operated on that night, as his condition had deteriorated.
        The staff, the surgeon’s, aneasthetists and everyone were just absolutely brilliant, efficient, professional and caring. I cannot fault them, the Scottish NHS is a fantastic public service, and it belongs to the people. It’s not the English government’s possession, it’s not theirs to sell. The media doing the dirty work for the English government, demonising our NHS, and the people working in it, (and they work damn hard) are a disgrace.

        Hands off our Scottish NHS, it’s functioning incredibly well against huge odds, ie, being stuck in this terrible so called union, with corrupt greedy law breakers running the show.
        Well done the Scottish government, the SNP, for managing to keep Scotland’s NHS healthy as possible. The circumstances over the past three years, against the backdrop of the English government’ greed and sleaze, dictating to Scotland’s (competent) First Minister to not deviate from their disastrous Covid19 mismanagement, have shown how much Scotland needs
        independence, in order to secure the future of having functioning public services, for the wellbeing of Scotland’s people, and not having them removed and sold off for private profit to the detriment of Scotland.
        Sorry long comment.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t mean my comment as a criticsm more a question. I value the NHS and have great respect for those who work there and I know people like my husband and myself could not afford our meds let alone operations.
          I’m struggling to equate the constant carping from the three unionist parties when they know damned well the Scottish NHS performs better than the others.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. People are still getting Drs appointments following procedures. Clinic appointments and operations. People with underlying conditions have to wait a bit longer because of Covid and viruses.

    Union reps should be negotiating for better pay and conditions not criticising their members working in difficult conditions, The hardworking staff need support.

    The Scottish Gov has put in more funding to free up more beds with alternative accommodation. Cut non urgent operations for Feb to free up more Doctors and staff for emergencies. Jan & Feb are the worse months because of Covid and viruses. More people on average die in winter months.

    The Trust’s are responsible for many of the decisions. More concerned with targets and statistics than emergency decisions. At times of stress to the system.

    The Tories cut NHS funding from 2015/20. Instead of increasing it. Brexit led to a lose of staff. The Scottish Gov has to mitigate the Westminster decisions,


  3. ”Judge a man by the company he keeps ”- if Dr Kennedy is praising ‘Brylcreem’ Gulhane then I wouldn’t trust him to tell me the time of day !


  4. If I may draw your attention to Dr Kennedy’s tweet, he was not just congratulating Disaster Gulhane in September 2021, but highlighting “BMA members are enduring a recruitment crisis, whilst facing unprecedented demand”.

    Note it is quite specifically BMA members doing the recruiting, so these are private practices.

    This is a UK wide problem caused by HMG policy on everything from Brexit to Student debt to tinkering with Doctors/Nurses pay and pensions to shrinking UK NHS and education budgets, none of which SG have any powers to affect.

    The implication that SG is at fault is a preoccupation of the Daily Wrecker, Gulhane, Baillie and of course HMS James Cook, but is in reality nakedly political propaganda to divert attention from the disastrous effects of Tory policies in London.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not sure what Dr Kennedy is asking for as it could be one of two things.
    The SG funds a number of doctor posts, be it in General Practice or NHS hospital and community services. It is then up to the Health Boards and GP Practices to advertise these positions and recruit into them. Currently across the UK (less so in Scotland) there is an increasing number of unfilled FUNDED positions. The money is there but no one qualified is available to fill the post permanently.
    So is Dr Kennedy asking for
    1) the SG to increase the number of funded posts? Subject to budget they have the authority to do this despite the fact it doesn’t increase the supply of trained doctors available or
    2) is he wanting the SG to magic out of the ether another 2000 trained doctors to fill funded posts? Doctors take around 12 years to qualify as a GP or Hospital consultant and the SG has already increased the number of training places available
    Seems to me he is just enjoying being in the SNPBaaaad spotlight from the opposition numpties and the MSM rather than contributing to any real debate


    1. “Seems to me he is just enjoying being in the SNPBaaaad spotlight from the opposition numpties and the MSM rather than contributing to any real debate”

      Yes, but… He was crowing in an earlier tweet to members over the publicity he was getting for the BMA and their problems, so a degree of self-promotion is in play here, but ultimately it’s all about publicity.

      Having read a few articles in which his commentary is included, he appears quite prepared to play with MSM bias and hyperbole for the publicity, relying on his own words as proof of political impartiality should a fallback be required.
      In context, were Kennedy to actually point where the current problems originate, neither HMS James Cook nor most of Scotland’s media would touch it with a bargepole.

      He’s playing a dangerous game for BMA publicity, and I suspect losing public support in the process, much as TV licenses…
      Not a good look….


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