THE BBC reported on the NHS waiting list findings of Audit Scotland yesterday. The independent watchdog’s report didn’t make great reading for the NHS, the SNP or Alex Neil the Health Secretary. Given that Audit Scotland is independent, with no political axe to grind, AhDinnaeKen investigates the attitude and reporting of ‘alternative’ newsgathering website, Newsnet Scotland, on the issue. We* can only conclude Newsnat have done nothing to throw off the label of ‘crackpot’ coined for them by Daily Redcoat editor Davie Clegg:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
AUDIT SCOTLAND, the BBC, the Labour party and STV are conspiring in unison against the Scottish Government according to Newsnet Scotland.
The laughably crackpot accusation was raised by the site yesterday in response to the BBC’s reporting of Audit Scotland’s latest A&E waiting time findings.
And, to further compound their paranoia, Newsnet Scotland also claimed that Audit Scotland were deliberately misreporting waiting time data to discredit the SNP.
According to Newsnet reporter God Awful Ponsonby (G.A. Ponsonby) not only were STV, the BBC and Audit Scotland in on the conspiracy, so were the Labour party.
God Awful garbled: “But as ever when it comes to NHS waiting times, the Scottish media – especially the BBC although STV were in on this one as well – then things aren’t ever what they appear.”
Interpreted into the Queen’s imperial English, we* think Ponseybody means that both broadcasters were acting in concert to undermine the reputation of the SNP.
Not content with pointing the finger at the TV outlets, God Awful also let loose with both canonical barrels on the SNP’s nemesis, the Labour party.
He raged: “Yesterday we had the latest attempt by Labour and their media cronies to present the NHS in Scotland as somehow in crisis and at breaking point.”
And, just to make sure that there was no doubt that this was a heinous, bordering on despicable, conspiracy against the SNP, God Awful also turned his forensic analysis on the source of the report, Audit Scotland.
Referring to Audit Scotland’s previous report on waiting time figures, God Awful pointed out a “rather odd anomaly”.
The older report – linked to in God Awful’s piece – “contains a diagram showing clearly that 2006 has been used.”
At this stage, AhDinnaeKen was expecting the grammatically clunky Ponseybody to phone the polis in a fit of pique.
But no, by having used a graphic containing this guilty diagram, Audit Scotland clearly has to answer the question raised by Ponseybody: “why has the new report claimed 2008/09 was the previous baseline when the text and diagram suggests it was 2006?”
While he awaits the response “with interest” from Audit Scotland, we* think that the answer is already there in the older report itself.
On the summary page of the report the second line says: “In 2008/09, the equivalent of around 1.4 million people attended an emergency department.”
Paragraph 3 of the summary background states: “In 2008/09, the ambulance service transported over 400,000 patients to hospital…”
Paragraph 4 states: “In 2008/09, NHS 24 referred just under 75,000 …”
As if to compound Ponseybody’s ignorance, the graphic referred to by him also clearly shows that 2008 was the period when waiting times hit their target of 95% of A&E patients being seen within a four hour waiting period.
It seems fair to conclude – for that reason alone – that 2008/09 would be the obvious baseline to choose from which to measure future performance.
As was found by the independent watchdog, there’s clearly work to be done. And, as directly referred to by Audit Scotland: “The Scottish Government launched the National Unscheduled Care Action Plan in February 2013 in response to the deterioration in performance against the four-hour standard.”
It shouldn’t need pointed out, but the four hour waiting time target was reached in 2008/09. It hasn’t been maintained and that’s what was highlighted by the report. Basic stuff.
All worth reporting by the BBC, STV, MSM et al because, in anyone’s language – even Ponseybody’s – it’s newsworthy and in the public interest.
Not for Ponseybody though.
Clearly clutching too hard at the 2006 graphical straw man, he then proceeded to give that straw man the thrashing it deserved to prove beyond doubt that Audit Scotland was out to get the NHS/SNP, in cahoots with the Labour party, the BBC and STV.
AhDinnaeKen is still laughing.
It only leaves the question – to be answered by Newsnight’s producers – why are the BBC plugging this arrant nonsensical website at the end of Newsnight?
Appeasement only leads to further embarrassing concessions.
Scottish Review was plugged alongside Newsnet recently. The difference between the two is like chalk and cheese.
The Scottish Review is high quality, informative and thought provoking.
Newsnet is mostly none of those things, other than when the likes of Hassan, Torrance, or Riddoch get paid to write for it – and even then…
Earth calling Ponseybody. Yer tea’s oot!