Talking Up Scotland

TalkingUp Scotland – Our Best Choice from November.


November Picks from TalkingUp Scotland

If you’re one of our followers, you’ll know that we often use Prof John Robertson’s blog TalkingUp Scotland as a media fact check source for our interviews, podcasts and blogs. Some of them are here. Every now and then – like now – we write up a couple of his articles here. This month we’re going to look at the Herald’s take on road traffic accidents and then return to that long-running favourite of how long people have to wait in A&E

Is The Herald arithmetically challenged?

There’s reporting the facts and there’s spinning the facts. The Herald Newspaper – or should that be Herald Spinpaper – would have us believe that there has been a “surge” in road traffic accidents in the Highlands. That Highanders are now “at a massively greater risk of losing their life”. And that “data from Transport Scotland showed a staggering increase in the number of fatalities on roads in the north of the country.”

See their report ‘Lives at risk’: Rise in serious road accidents involving ‘inexperienced’ tourists. Note the single inverted commas, always a tell-tale sign that you’re seeing someone’s opinion, usually a biassed one, rather than a reasoned statement with evidence to back it up.

So here’s the facts reported by the Herald:
  • Tourists unused to driving on the left were involved in 28 accidents to date this year, compared to 24 in whole of 2022.
  • the number of people killed on roads in the Highland Council rose from 14 in 2021 to 32 in 2022 – the highest number of fatalities on roads in the local authority area since 2008.
  • Most of the deaths, 20, were on trunk roads, which includes the A9 which runs from Perth to Inverness – frequently dubbed Scotland’s most dangerous road.
Here’s the ones they didn’t tell their readers:
  • yes, 24 deaths in 2022 are up from the 5-year average of 17
  • but serious accidents at 87 were down from the 5-year average of 130
  • and all accidents at 232 were only just over half of the 443 5-year average.
  • the data covers all roads in the whole huge Highland Region. Most accidents occur on trunk roads. We drive faster on them. This data gives no information whatsoever on accidents happening on any one road.
Is there a trend of tourists being involved in RTAs?
  • We don’t know.
  • If the Herald knows they’re not telling.
  • Just as they’re not telling anyone about the long-term trends in Scottish road safety.
  • But we know and we rest our case 🙂 Thank you TalkingUp Scotland
TalkingUp Scotland. Road Traffic accidents trend. Scottish Independence Podcasts

How NHS A&E Performances compare across the UK.

Let’s cut to the chase…. the target is to keep long waits to less that 2%. Scottish NHS managed to achieve that until this year when it crept up to 5%. Nowhere else in UK shows as good a record. And bear in mind these figures cover the whole of the Covid pandemic.

TalkingUp Scotland. NHS 12Hour Waits. A&E waiting times comparison across UK. Scottish Independence Podcasts Blog

Two things to remember, in Scotland all A&E Depts are major units. The equivalent in NHS England are called Type 1 A&E Depts. Wales’ equivalents are called major departments. If you’re reading or listening to news about A&E waiting times, always check that like is being compared with like. That may seem obvious but it isn’t. It’s only relatively recently that we have full breakdown of English A&E performance by type. Before that it was common, – and in the BBC of all places – to compare Scottish figures with English figures that were an average of all English Types of A&E unit.

More information in our article At Last, Comparable A&E Waiting Times. It includes a wee tale from one of our team after breaking her wrist.

What about shorter waiting times? Yep, John has them too.
TalkingUp Scotland. A&E Waiting times in UK. Scottish Independence Podcasts Blog
TalkingUp Scotland. A&E Waiting times in UK. Scottish Independence Podcasts Blog

Read how the Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour deal with these respective A&E performances. Clue: Scottish Labour blame SNP Government. Welsh Labour takes a more rational approach: A&E performance across nations: contrasting the responses of the Labour Party in government and opposition

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