BBC Scotland spends more than £50 000* taxpayer money to find but not tell you NHS England’s waiting lists are 14% longer than NHS Scotland

It’s not easy to find out how much pollsters charge but from a US Strategic Communications Executive, $25 -$30 per respondent is suggested. This Quora response is not dated so the estimate may be higher today.*

Anyhow, BBC commissioned Savanta to carry out a poll of 2 043, making the cost around £50 000.

You may remember Savanta is the pollster unable in their last 17 polls to ever find a lead for Yes.

The BBC report today opens with:

There are 625,000 people on a hospital waiting list in Scotland. That figure is the highest on record and equivalent to one in nine of the population.

Backlogs have soared since the Covid pandemic and more people faced with long waits are seeking private treatment.

An opinion poll commissioned by BBC Scotland suggests one in five of those who replied said they – or one of their family – had paid for private medical care in the past 12 months.

BBC Scotland do not, of course mention that, according to a research briefing for the UK Parliament in November 2022, reported in the Guardian, there were 7 100 000 on the NHS England hospital waiting list.

Regulars here will be doing the sums. England has 10 times the population so all things being equal should have around 6 250 000 on their waiting list but has 7 100 000, 13.6% more.

Getting back to BBC Scotland’s poll aimed at undermining the Scottish Government with your money, their central claim is that ‘one in five’ had paid for or that a family member had paid for private medical care.

Readers don’t need me to tell them just how useless that question is. The 4, yes 4, individuals featured, had paid for serious surgery privately yet the poll suggests as many as 450 had gone private for something.

A class of Primary 7 maths project pupils are all shouting out now:

Yes, but my mum goes to a podiatrist every few months. Are you counting that sort of thing?

Aye, my grandad gets a monthly massage for his back and pays £25 a go.

Oh, yeh, my Uncle Archie hurt his knee at the fitba’ and goes tae that physio that used te dae Gazza’s knees tae. It’s just £30 a time.

My pal, Jason, had that thing where they stick needles in ye. Said he felt a wee pri…

Right children! That’s enough….we’ll get back to maths now.

Why can’t BBC Scotland tell us how many went private for serious surgery. Savanta could have gathered that easily.

They don’t want to know.



6 thoughts on “BBC Scotland spends more than £50 000* taxpayer money to find but not tell you NHS England’s waiting lists are 14% longer than NHS Scotland

  1. I heard the BBC Scotland’s dire “Health News” this morning followed by a Kaye Adams’s request for you to phone in with your experiences of the NHS.

    Groundhog day at Pacific Quay. A waste of a building as far as I can make out.


  2. BBC cost £6Billion. Regurgitated nonsense. The money would be. Better spent cutting any waiting lists, Better waiting lists than people dying of Covid. People had to wait with manageable conditions than go to hospital and get Covid. Any urgent or acute matters are dealt with immediately. Doctors had to be freed up to deal with emergencies. Hospital Trusts are obsessed with waiting lists. Better to save people’s lives and not have any ambulance wait.


  3. The Quora response you cited is dated 22nd September 2013 – so I’d say the estimate would be significantly higher now.


  4. “Why can’t BBC Scotland tell us how many went private for serious surgery. Savanta could have gathered that easily.
    They don’t want to know.”

    What they know and what they want you to know are two entirely different things – eg we don’t actually know what aspects were surveyed for the BBC by Savanta – Given the sample period of 8th and 17th February, I’d guess they were establishing a baseline before the Jenkins/Forbes sting landed, in preparation for taking down Yousaf from the health angle.

    I’d posted the archive previously yet it’s worth looking at the framing of the questions to grasp just how wide a range the first question covers before the Disclosure theatrics land, which will assuredly portray the exceptions as the norm.

    Yet it is the 2nd question onward which gives the game away – Financing the NHS as extra on top of what we already pay, eg -“Who should pay more income tax to raise money for the NHS in Scotland ?” and “To what extent would you support or oppose introducing a 10 pound charge for patients that miss appointments?”

    Scots haven’t thought that way since 1946 when Attlee’s NHS upset the Tory applecart, and have been paying for it in contributions ever since in NI contributions.

    The Disclosure broadcast should be preceded be “From our sponsors, the Tories..” for clarity…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have simple rules, I don’t watch any output from BBC Scotland, most of which is low budget junk TV, possibly all of it is. I don’t watch anything about Scotland broadcast from London, you may as well just make up your own lies.

    As for the print media, I have rarely bought a paper since 2014. i just get my news online now by scouting around numerous sites and making up my ow mind. The most enjoyable part is reading online the sanctimonious complaints from ‘journalists’ as if they are experts on anything outside their ability to lie and churn out the propaganda their owner demands.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The BBC News article on use of private healthcare in Scotland refers to data from PHIN – the Private Healthcare Information Network. PHIN describes itself as: ‘The independent, government-mandated organisation publishing performance and fees information about private consultants and hospitals’. This mandate appears to be from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

    Fortunately, to plug the context and perspective void left by the BBC, we can examine data from PHIN on use of private healthcare across the UK: ‘Private market update: December 2022’ ( )

    These latest data provide insights into trends in the private healthcare sector up to Q2 (April to June) 2022. (Note this is taken from PHIN’s national dataset describing ADMITTED ACTIVITY – DAY CASE AND INPATIENT. It excludes activity outside of PHIN’s mandate from the CMA, such as outpatient diagnostics and mental health.)

    On private hospital admissions for the UK nations and regions PHIN reports:

    – the largest increase in privately financed hospital admissions between Q2 2019 and Q2 2022 is in (Labour-run) Wales (at 90%): Wales also had an increase in insured admissions (21%)

    – London, the South East and South West are the most active self-pay markets in terms of volume

    – Northern Ireland had a 55% increase in self-pay admissions and was also the area with the highest growth in insured admissions (28%), though totals are lower in both cases than other nations/regions

    – Scotland saw growth in self-pay admissions (up 69%), but its insured admissions were down 10% on the equivalent pre-pandemic months.

    Analysing in more detail the reported rise in self-pay admissions to hospital in Scotland relative to the other nations of the UK, the PHIN data reveal (by calculation) the following:

    – in Q2 2019 the number of self-pay admissions equated to 0.05% of Scotland’s population*. In the same period, this statistic for England was 0.08% and for Wales 0.06% – so lowest in Scotland

    – in Q2 2022 the number of self-pay admissions equated to 0.09% of Scotland’s population. In the same period this statistic for England was 0.10% and for Wales 0.11% – so again lowest in Scotland.

    (* using ONS mid year 2021 population estimates for the UK nations.)

    On 2 March 2022, the Guardian had this headline: ‘Private healthcare boom adds to fears of two-tier system in UK’. In the article there is a graph labelled: ‘Healthcare funding by people in the UK who pay for treatment themselves without insurance has been increasing since 1990’.

    The graph shows that the biggest jump – measured by aggregated out of pocket expenditure as a percentage of UK GDP – occurred in c. 1996 and has been steadily rising from c.2006 (then at c. 1.1% of GDP) and reaching nearly 1.8% in 2020 (based on analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research).

    Finally, across the UK, the latest PHIN market report shows that by volume, cataract surgery is ‘once again the largest area of activity for self-pay procedures (up 42% on Q2 2019)’. However, again in terms of growth across the UK, hip replacement (184%), knee replacement (153%) and inguinal hernia repair (123%) procedures had the highest increase (each with triple digit increases).

    It is boringly predictable: a BBC News story about Scotland’s public services rarely provides context and perspective despite the Corporation having a (supposed) public service mission to inform and educate. I presume it has another ‘mission’ when it comes to Scotland that takes precedence!

    Liked by 2 people

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