Factual Error

A lot has been said this week regarding the crisis in the Scottish NHS. From factual errors to alleged unionist trolls being rolled out to testify just how terrible the National Health Service is in Scotland. All this to give the public the impression that our NHS is worse than it is in England. On Monday of this week BBC Reporting Scotland ran a story in which Sarah Smith claimed over one hundred thousand patients waited over four hours to be seen and nearly 300 waited longer than 12 hours. This figure was untrue and indeed Smith has posted a statement on twitter retracting that number.

In a week that has seen wall to wall news coverage of the absolute meltdown of the National Health Service in England, it was inevitable that the Scottish NHS would come under the same scrutiny. However, unlike that of England, Scotland’s NHS seems to be coping well, although one may be forgiven in thinking it is on its knees and about to collapse. In her report BBC’s Sarah Smith gives the impression that over one hundred thousand patients waited over four hours to be seen. That was UNTRUE, that figure was for the whole of 2017, not the last two weeks of the year. Whether Smith gave this figure deliberately or not, (no formal correction was given on air). Smith in her tweet simply states it was corrected in subsequent bulletins; therefore, those who did not catch the subsequent bulletins would be of the impression that one hundred thousand people went to A&E in those last two weeks of the year; 300 of which waited over 12 hours. Figures that Smith reported as a disgrace.

Smith clearly got her figures wrong, so were the 300 who waited over 12 hours to be seen spread over the 12 months also?

The opening statement is flawed now we know that one hundred thousand people did NOT attend A&E in the last two weeks of the year and having made this ‘mistake’ we cut to Health Secretary Shona Robertson:

“Figures out today are for the week ending in Hogmanay, a very, very challenging week for our health service, flu really beginning to kick in that week, for example, 40% increase in calls to the Scottish ambulance service on Hogmanay alone and of course staff working extremely hard on the front line to keep patients safe.”

This would seem to give validation to Smith’s opening statement of one hundred thousand, especially as no official figures were ever given. In that, by cutting to the Health Secretary and not actually having any official records of the numbers seen. Reporting Scotland presented these figures as fact even although the Health Secretary did not reveal any figure at all. Merely referenced figures had been released.

Smith continued:

“In the week between Christmas and New Year, only 78% were seen within the target of four hours. That’s compared to the same week [last year]. The delays are not because of increased patient number, only 635 more people attended to A&E departments. One reason given for the increase in waiting times is a surge in flu infections. Cases of flu in Scotland are running at more than double the rate in England, more than twice as many there were last year and that’s now a significant concern. Patients with flu take longer to assess and require treatment in individual rooms as staff try to minimise the spread of infection.”

That is only common sense, at least they are in individual rooms and not out in the car park, like those in England. Least they managed to get into hospital. Further into her report, Smith states:

“The Health Minister, visiting a hospital in Perth insists it is performing overall with far fewer cancelled operations than south of the border.”

The use of the word insists, suggests that the Scottish NHS it is not performing well overall. Especially as we cut to Robertson’s visit to the hospital and are not given the luxury of hearing the Health Secretary’s own words and the tone used. We are given instead, Smith’s interpretation of what had occurred.

Is it any wonder the NHS in Scotland would be stretched to the absolute limit if one hundred thousand people had shown up? This factual error was not corrected until Friday 12th, five days later after it was shown to be factually incorrect on social media. As far as I am aware this has not been addressed on air, or indeed anywhere on the BBC website. Meaning, those who watched Reporting Scotland on Monday night are still under the impression that one hundred thousand people showed up at A&E in the last two weeks of 2017. Some say the BBC are fast becoming a joke, they are not. They are putting out false information that is being picked up by those who are not on social media and therefore are being fed this propaganda on a daily basis; had there not been such a kick up on social media (twitter) I seriously doubt there would have been any form of correction or apology.

Scotland needs its own media, free from the constraints of London; this rubbish coming from the BBC won’t do. I am sure I am not the only one who is sick to death of the SNP bad stories; sick and tired of the belittling of our country and sick and tired of being talked down. They are not superior anymore. What they are is the propaganda arm of the union and should be called out as such!