By a Newsnet reporter
A Labour MSP who once falsely claimed that Scottish NHS Hospitals were the most infected in Europe, has launched yet another attack on the Scottish Health Service.
Jackie Baillie, who is Scottish Labour’s Health spokesperson, has attacked a lack of guarantees over secondary treatment for cancer patients, claiming that waiting time targets should be introduced in order to ensure patients are seen within 31 days.

According to BBC Scotland Health correspondent Eleanor Bradford, the Scottish Labour MSP’s criticism means that patients “may be waiting too long for follow up treatment”.

The Labour MSP also claimed that treatment in England was better than in Scotland because a 31 day guarantee was in place.

According to the BBC reporter, Ms Baillie said: "When you speak to clinicians, their priority is to treat as quickly as possible.

"This is a question of resources and priorities.  The cabinet secretary really needs to ensure that the clinicians are supported in treating people with cancer."

Responding, Health Secretary Alex Neil said setting too many targets could skew resources and that decisions on when to pursue follow up treatment was best left to clinicians who, freed from having to meet targets, would refer patients solely on clinical need.

He said: "That's why we've actually reduced the number of targets substantially over the last five years."

The attack by the Labour MSP follows similar criticisms of the Scottish government policy by Ms Bradford herself.  In January this year, the BBC reporter described the Scottish government’s policy as a “loophole” and cited breast cancer patients who waited 15 weeks for follow up radiotherapy.

The claims contained in the online article featured in several news broadcasts by the BBC Scotland reporter.

However, according to specialists, there is in fact no definitive medical evidence to suggest that a delay in radiotherapy treatment after surgery hampers recovery.

The criticism by the BBC reporter and the Scottish Labour MSP follows revelations last year of waiting time targets having been manipulated at one hospital in West Lothian and one in Dundee.  The revelations led to an inquiry by Audit Scotland which found no evidence that the practice was widespread.

As revealed though by Newsnet Scotland, both Bradford and Baillie have themselves been guilty of manipulating information in relation to the Scottish NHS.

In another article published on January 12th, Ms Bradford claimed that “As many as 3,500 people at risk of bone fractures are waiting eight months for a scan to detect osteoporosis at a clinic in Aberdeen.”

However, Newsnet Scotland discovered the statement was inaccurate – the 3,500 figure was the number of patients treated by the centre in a year and not the number who were affected by the 32 week delay.

Indeed, the situation was hardly a secret having been published on NHS Grampian’s own website since October 3rd 2011 – fully 15 months before the BBC Scotland reporter revealed the ‘scandal’.

NHS Grampian put out a detailed statement following the BBC report which refuted all of the allegations made by Eleanor Bradford in no uncertain terms.

It subsequently emerged that, far from 3,500 people having been affected by the scanner problem at NHS Grampian as claimed by BBC Scotland, the real figure was closer to one hundred.

In the case of Jackie Baillie, the Labour MSP has a history of launching attacks on the Scottish NHS. 

Back in 2012 Ms Baillie was guilty of issuing false information relating to the infection rates at NHS hospitals in Scotland, describing Scottish hospitals as being at the top of the European Infection league table.

Ms Baillie said: “Being the superbug capital of Europe is an accolade no country wants.

“These figures show that, despite recent progress, the SNP government still has a long way to go in the battle against healthcare-associated infections.

“Sadly, almost everybody knows someone who has contracted a healthcare-associated infection, like C.diff or MRSA.

“We must aspire to deliver the cleanest hospitals and the lowest levels of hospital-acquired infections in the whole of Europe – not the highest.”

However, as revealed by Newsnet Scotland at the time, the claims were false.  The data used by the Labour MSP was in fact collated in 2005/6, at a time when Labour were in power at Holyrood.

Ms Baillie’s attack featured prominently on BBC Scotland and was published by the Scotsman newspaper.  She has yet to face a single question from anyone at the BBC over the false claims.

At the time of Ms Baillie’s attack, Scottish hospitals were the cleanest they had ever been.


# bringiton 2013-03-27 16:34
I don't understand what point the BBC in Scotland are trying to make by continually comparing selective statistics with those of the English health service.
Is the English health service the bench mark for everyone else to aspire to?
Somehow,I don't think so.
I wonder if the motive is either political or personal gain or both?
# richardcain2 2013-03-28 04:46
I think the idea is to feed the cringe; to subtly implant the thought in people's minds "well if we Scots are too stupid to run a decent health service, then we'd have no chance of being able to run a whole country!"
Their job, after all, is propaganda.
# tartanfever 2013-03-27 16:45
I think we should expect only more of this kind of attack. Remember Bradford put out a call to the people of Scotland to contact her via the BBC website a couple of months ago with any complaints they had and she would take them further. They've probably stored up enough now to see them through to September next year. Expect any good news 'independence' story to be quickly followed by a Bradford/Baillie production.
# UpSpake 2013-03-27 16:46
Targets, a very Stalinistic way of managing something so sophisticated and personal as a Health Service should be thrown out along with the manic people who introduced us to this nonsense in the first place.
# Robabody 2013-03-28 17:19
This is a classic – “Measures drive behaviours” fight as so often brilliantly highlighted by Mr John Seddon in his many books and articles on the measure daft culture that dominates nearly all aspect of public life in the UK. No doubt there will be users of his approach reading this article that can back this up more succulently than I but the basis of it is – show me the failure evidence. In short Miss Baillie how many people in Scotland are disadvantaged by not having it? When? How? And - why is it 31 days, and what evidence decided this figure? You get the drift. For more see this (and I have no connection with the man or his organisation other than having read his stuff)
Well done Alex Neil – spot on. Follow the link Jackie!
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-27 16:47
Let’s put this latest “scandal” into perspective.

Under Labour’s watch in England there were 1197 deaths between 1996 and 2008 at Mid Staffordshire hospital, 492 between 2005 and 2008, due to sub standard levels of care.

The Francis Report criticised Andy Burnham who was Labour’s Health Secretary and previously minister for delivery and reform (privatisation) at Depart of Health for being asleep at the wheel, In 2007 Andy Burnham backed Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust’s application for Foundation status citing its “high performing standards” but this was after the national UK press had reported 127 deaths at Mid Staffordshire one of the highest in the country yet Burnham claimed that he was unaware of this.

The Scottish NHS is still miles better than the privatisation going on in England but don't expect the BBC to dwell on this.
# EphemeralDeception 2013-03-27 17:14
Timing: Day before FM Questions.

It is a good thing that health policies and health service quality is challenged repeatedly in order to drive continuous improvement.

However Baillie has a track record of political motive before all else.

There may be valid concern but it is all conjecture. The question of available resources is raised. However we know that 98% of patients were treated on time for the first chemo or radiotherapy. Seems logical that the same amount of staff, equipment etc are there for follow up, otherwise 98% of 1st treatments could not be maintained.

Why was there no clinician interviewed by the BBC to get a real, non political feedback?
# BillCo 2013-03-28 15:50
Why was there no clinician interviewed by the BBC to get a real, non political feedback?

Exactly. It would probably expose an inconvenient truth.
# RTP 2013-03-27 17:16
I watched Ms Sturgeon give Baillie a right roasting today over the "bedroom tax"even Lamont was not left out.
# millie 2013-03-27 17:37
It would be really great if someone could upload the roasting so that the ‘casual’ reader of Newsnet could see the ‘REAL’ hypocrisy of the Labour Party in Scotland and in particular Jackie Baillie.
# RTP 2013-03-27 17:53
Democracy Live Scotland.Click on the picture of Baillie
# millie 2013-03-27 18:15
Thanks for the link. Hypocrisy is there for all to see…

Seeing is believing, as they say. (10 mins long)
# davemsc 2013-03-27 19:51
Ho ho ho! Gotcha, Ms. Baillie! Interesting that she should accuse someone else of 'politicking', isn't it?
# Breeks 2013-03-27 18:23
Well done Nicola!!!
# call me dave 2013-03-27 21:04
Good rebuttle by Ms Sturgeon and I suspect trying to control her feelings as she said the words. She darn near called a spade 'a spade'

More of this please SG

As for her SNHS scare story . . Scraping the bottom of the barrel. We need independent confirmation from doctors and health specialists not fabricated BBC Scotland & the labour party stories.

I am sure there are things to fix but generally it could be worse.

At least you know a tory is out to get you but labour are the devious pretend to be a friend of the poor party.
Socialists my gluteus maximus.
# millie 2013-03-27 22:07
Scotland Tonight (STV)- discussing Bedroom Tax.

Guests are Margaret Burgess SNP and Alex Johnstone Conservative- no Ms Baillie?? Labour hiding in the shadows on this one?
# ferryman 2013-03-27 17:26
So the BBC are taking liar liar ballie at her word and demonising the nhs yet again. What the hell are they playing at. Even the woman they highlighted was in remission and was not affected by the current setup.

This really makes my blood boil.
# gus1940 2013-03-27 17:31
Perhaps Baillie could take the trouble to inform us what the situation was prior to May 2007.
# DoricBob 2013-03-27 17:39
We all know what the agenda is. They've tried to demonise Alex Salmond for months and now they've switched to Nicola Sturgeon and her record as health minister. So obvious - twats!!
# Fourfolksache 2013-03-27 17:46
Baillie won't 'take the trouble' to tell us anything positive. And the SNP/SG need to get their finger out to portray the truth!
I don't doubt AS will 'leather' them on the subject in tomorrow's FMQ's but that isn't good enough. Because the MSM want to tell this story and ask no intelligent questions all the Bitter Together mob have to do is throw rocks and follow the Joseph Goebels principle.
The SG need to start using their imagination and to get the NHS Scotland staff to speak up???
# Albalha 2013-03-27 18:18
This is another attempt at the story Bradford did, badly, in January, about Raigmore, here's the link

And listening to the radio report in the 5pm news the main addition to the story seems to be that, 'and when Labour asked the Health Secretary about waiting lists for follow up cancer treatment they were told they did not keep that information'

So EB is now 'on the record' speaking for the Labour Party?
# spagan 2013-03-27 18:57
Given the ring-fencing of the NHS expenditure and the SG commitment to protect our NHS from privatisation, we should be asking our clinical specialists - in this case the Oncologists - to be more vocal whenever the BBC present Labour's Baillie PR.
# Albalha 2013-03-27 19:25
Absolutely ..... at the end of her reporton Reporting Scotland she said that Scotland's cancer survival rates were also crap, interestingly while overall they are above the UK average, they are below the UK average for breast cancer survival rates.(According to NCIN statistics).

Of course the way she presented the report implied that because follow up treatment times are not within a month we have crap survival rates.

So yes let an oncologist, researcher, someone that knows explain.

Shocking reporting even for BBC Scotland.
# src19 2013-03-27 19:53
Tonight Distorting Scotland was just the Scottish branch of labour telling BBC Scotland what to report, No journalism by the BBC Scotland just report what labour want reported.
# tartanfever 2013-03-27 19:12
Anyone see Reporting Scotland tonight ? If not, it's worth seeing the 'full' Bradford/Baillie production on the i-player when it's available, especially Bradford's last comment.

Further to my earlier comment, in this report Baillie mentioned that people have been getting in touch with them - I would presume that was with the help of Bradford and her 'call to arms' vial the BBC website a couple of months ago asking for anyone with negative NHS stories to get in touch.
# clootie 2013-03-27 22:51
"Bradford/Baillie report" - that sums it up for me. Bradford is determined to ignore facts and go for the unique story - funny how the right person always turns up at the right time to suit the spin she places on a story.
# daveniz 2013-03-27 19:25
I say let baillie and the labour party and unionist continue there attack on the nhs because I have relatives who work for the nhs and its not going down well with the hard working doctors and staff its backfiring for them because the staff and doctors are starting to think of independance as the best thing to happen at this time!
# cuckooshoe 2013-03-27 19:28

People are almost 50% more likely to survive bowel cancer compared to 30 years ago, figures show.
# samizdat 2013-03-27 20:10
It is quite sickening that this Baillie woman and ably abetted by BBC in Scotland keep regurgitating this kind of story not as a piece of news or for any real concern for the lady concerned but simply using the lady's worry and anxiety about her health as a means to attack the NHS and the Scottish government simply for cynical political reasons,she has previous form for this and is notorious for this kind of behaviour since way back when Wendy Alexander was leader of labour in Scotland,as for the BBC reporter a few weeks ago she was touting viewers to get in touch with her obviously for any further ammunition she could use,I have never ever heard outside of crimewatch any reporter or presenter behave like this to pursue an ongoing agenda.
# Independista 2013-03-27 20:14
On October 2011, in an attempt to wrong foot the FM, Johann Lamont referred to a rape case where the victim of rape was said to have attempted suicide three times, following a distressing trial which included her having to hold up her underwear in court. Check 14min51 sec in.
Alex Salmond agreed to look into the case,
However, the Crown Office issued a note to newspaper editors saying they had no knowledge of a case taking place that included the details referred to
by Lamont to the FM.
ON October 14th The Evening Times, from where she presumably got her information subsequently issued an apology deeply regretting “any 
hurt or offence our reporting may have caused.”
No such apology was submitted to the Scottish Parliament by Johann Lamont or the Labour Party, and no mention on BBC Scotland or as far as I am aware STV, of Lamont’s lies to the people of Scotland.
# Ready to Start 2013-03-27 21:04
One can only guess what the waiting times would be like if Labour had managed to close the hospitals they had planned prior to the 2007 elections.
# Fungus 2013-03-27 21:08
What must the NHS workers who are working hard to provide a good service to us feel like when they hear these distortions of their efforts time and again from this crew?
# From The Suburbs 2013-03-27 21:39
Absolute cracker on Bedroom Tax, in Scottish Parliament this afternoon near start of BBC TV coverage, by Nicola Sturgeon on Jackie Baillie's Emergency Question.

Turns out neither Jackie Baillie or Johann Lamont has signed Labour's petition on the subject.

However BBC had Mike Wade from the Times to deny Labour's lack of resolve south of the border on the bedroom tax.

This was followed by Torquil Chrichton ex Daily Record in London slating the SNP without any of his Labour friends saying where they would get £50 to £65 million a year from the already savaged Scottish budget.
# Lucas 2013-03-27 21:48
The Baillie/Bradford double act have infuriated me today. The Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy saved my life 18 or so years ago. I all but collapsed, and was found to be severely anemic. The reason was quickly found to be a hole in my bowel wall caused by cancer. The next 24 hours wwere spent pumping blood into me until I was healthy enough to survive the hemi-colectomy operation that followed immediately. Along with half a bowel, I also lost a number of cancerous lymph nodes.
# Lucas 2013-03-27 22:06
I spent 3 days in HDU, and had a nasty moment with a pulmonary embolism, but the Vic's skilled staff got me through it all. I can't have chemo 0r radiation therapy. The site of my cancer was close to my liver, and the treatment would have crippled that vital organ. I've survived nearly 20 years without either treatment. So why are Bradford and Baillie insistent that such treatment must be given within 31 days. Is there any evidence to support their assertion, or is this scare-mongering. Of course, these treatments reduce the risk of re-occurence, and are standard when possible. But within 31 days?
# Marian 2013-03-27 21:55
Labour are using every dirty trick they can think of to try and discredit the SNP and don't care who gets in the firing line.
# gus1940 2013-03-28 06:46
Surely that should read Labour and The BBC.

This was launched to distract us from the good news about the effectiveness of Mary Doll's Breast Cancer Awareness commercial and naturally no prizes awarded as to which of the 2 stories was highlighted by The BBC.
# theycantbeserious 2013-03-27 22:07
Well done Nicola, it must be hard listening to their crap/lies on a daily basis. Can I thank you, Alex and the rest of the Scottish Government for fighting Scotlands corner. You will win the day as the truth is on your side.

Yes 2014
# williemacewan 2013-03-27 23:12
It would be interesting to find out if the English waiting times are actually being achieved or what percentage of them
# Edulis 2013-03-27 23:13
I agree with the proposition that Bradford has an agenda and she is in cahoots with Baillie. Alex Neil gave a perfectly sensible and logical answer to the Baillie's proposal that there should be a target waiting time for secondary follow up. He said it should be a clinical decision. In the lunchtime news Bradford had no answer to that. However by teatime she put in a final flourish saying that while there wasn't a target for secondary follow up there is a target that nobody can avoid and that is the death statistics -hint,hint Scotland has a worse record for cancer than England. How simplistic, how despicable!
# bringiton 2013-03-27 23:21
Noticed Ms Baillie again tonight on Newsnight North Britain and have to speculate that we seem to be seeing and hearing a great deal more from her than her dear leader.
Might there be a coup in the offing?
# lumilumi 2013-03-28 15:38
No, no coup. I think they're just using Jackie Baillie as their attack dog. (I thought attack/fighting dogs were outlawed? Or maybe that was England/Wales, and Scotland is different.)

Unfortunately, we will be hearing a lot more of Jackie Baillie's lies, misinformation and hypocrisy, all delivered with a smug voice and a smug smile.

The woman has no shame, no principles, no vision. Just party loyalty and low, self-serving cunning. She's deaf and blind to the real plight of her constituents or Scots in general. She has succeeded fooling voters with her honeyed, double-forked tongue but I'm sure the truth will out.
# ynot 2013-03-27 23:54
Bradford said that cancer outcomes in Scotland were "worse than in other countries". Which cancers Eleanor, and which countries? Far be it for you to compare apples with apples and look at outcomes for similar cancers in England and Scotland, but rather sow the seeds of doubt resulting from non-evidence based 3rd rate journalism.
As an ex-NHS clinician the Baillie/Bradford performance today fills me with rage at the lies and inuendo willingly purveyed by our national broadcaster; I can't wait for the follow-up in tomorrow's press, but in the meantime, weel done Nicola! Just a pity that this will escape the notice of too many impressionable Scots.
# Dee 2013-03-28 00:10
Why is the SG not hammering Labour about how they are going to keep the bedroom ax if they get into power I London.??? Come on Alex.
# cuckooshoe 2013-03-28 06:07
Meanwhile in England..

BMA writes to NHS boss over 111 'concerns'
# proudscot 2013-03-28 13:18
The recent Panelbase poll commissioned by the Sunday Times, highlighted the possibility that Johann Lamont will be in danger of losing her seat to the SNP at the next Holyrood election. So it seems to me that Jackie "Rent-a-Quote" Baillie, queen of the false claims, is positioning herself for the leadership post of the Holyrood branch of Labour.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Ms Baillie also loses her seat to the SNP. Then all her grandstanding and false claims will have been for nothing. If and when that dream scenario comes about, I wonder if we'll again be treated to the sight of Curran almost in tears of despair at the loss of more "dear friends" from the Labour ranks of failed politicians?
# Willow 2013-03-28 15:25
Bradford & Ballie don’t have a clue. We have HNPCC in the family and each case has been completely different. Recovery time after surgery is different for every patient,so you can’t have a set time to start treatment.The time between treatments is varied because everyone reacts differently to it.

Instead of putting a call out for patients Bradford should be speaking to oncology medical staff.

Meanwhile perhaps Ms Baillie should have a look Wales for comparison since it is her party who are in charge there.

“Hospitals in Wales at meltdown point”

It’s open to comment
# cuckooshoe 2013-03-29 23:07
what's this?

Hunt drops clause that puts NHS patients first

You must be logged-in in order to post a comment.


Donate to Newsnet Scotland


Latest Comments