BBC’s Scotland Editor forced to apologise after inflating Scottish NHS waiting time figures

The BBC’s Scotland Editor has been forced to make an embarrassing apology after grossly inflating the number of people who waited more than four hours in Scottish A&E departments.

Sarah Smith issued the apology after claiming 100,000 people had been forced to wait longer than four hours in the week ending December 31st.

In a news item broadcast on the BBC News at Six, Smith told viewers: “Last week over one hundred thousand patients waited more than four hours to be seen.”

Official figures revealed the actual number of people who attended A&E in the week in question was 25,865, of that the number who had to wait longer than four hours was just over 5000.

The error was immediately spotted by keen eyed viewers and circulated on social media and there were calls for an apology from Ms Smith.  The under fire BBC Editor issued a statement on social media in which she apologised for the error.

The message on her twitter account read: “This week I made a factual error in a report on the BBC 6 o’clock news. For which I apologise. I mistakenly used the annual figure for A&E waiting times in Scotland instead of the weekly one. As soon as I realised my error I changed the report for all subsequent broadcasts.”

The apology was not enough to placate many on social media who felt an apology on twitter was inadequate given the erroneous broadcast would have been seen by millions on national television.

Online commentator David Hooks said: “Seems nobody is happy with this Twitter apology and most agree this apology and correction should be done on air with the same prominence as the original error. The question is how that mistake was made. 100K people visiting A&E in a week didn’t make you go ‘that can’t be right’?”

Others questioned how the error could have been made in the first place.  Polling expert James Kelly tweeted: “A rare apology from Sarah Smith is welcome, but to have made the mistake in the first place she must have either been unaware that the population of Scotland is 5 million, or thought it was plausible that 2% of the entire population spent 4 hours in A&E within a single week.”

Smith has faced of criticism from many pro-independence activists with some claiming her links to the Labour party and the British establishment call into question her impartiality.  Her late father John was leader of the Labour party, and her mother Elizabeth was made a life peer in 1995.

In the days following last year’s snap General Election, writing in her capacity as the BBC’s Scotland Editor, Smith claimed that the result meant it was “almost impossible” for the SNP to argue Scottish voters wanted another independence referendum because sixty percent had voted for parties opposed to a second ballot.

The ‘100,000’ broadcast has resulted in complaints to the BBC.  To date the corporation has issued no official response.

Meanwhile in a bizarre reversal, a BBC news item broadcast days after Smith had inflated A&E figures for Scotland, a colleague under-reported the same long wait figures for English A&E.  The reporter gave a figure of 3000 for the number of people waiting longer than four hours in England.  The actual figure was 69,000.

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9 thoughts on “BBC’s Scotland Editor forced to apologise after inflating Scottish NHS waiting time figures

  1. Lochside

    Two blatant lies about numbers: one inflating Scotland’s A&E figures; the other drastically minimising England’s. And by two ‘senior BBC political staff reporters. A mistake?…well if you believe that you will also believe in the existence of the tooth fairy.

    We have endured a tsunami of state engineered lies aimed at de-stabilising the lawfully constituted government of Scotland. The aim being to undermine the perception of competency and to distract the general electorate away from the total collapse of the Westminster government in the face of the Brexit disaster.

    But where is the SNP?…Feeble refusal to counterattack the lies and fabricated stories being peddled daily by the msm. ‘Mungo’ on a previous thread quotes the SNP supinity and unwillingness to engage in the fight with the British State. Actions such as 106 MSPs voting the disreputable and discredited Dugdale into a sinecure in the Scots Parliament only reinforces the image of the better together image of well fed, overpaid complacent posturing by our so-called representatives.

    As for the contingent at Westminster…what are they there for? Ignored and mocked..reduced to stunts like Pete Wishart with his ‘nul points’ placard make me want to puke with rage at the total impotence of our MPs. Has not the significance of the loss of a half million votes and the reduction of the overwhelming majority of MPs not got through to the SNP yet?

    Where is the strategy? where is the fight? Make no mistake, plenty of young and middle of the road punters soft labour voters, who we need in order to win the next Ref, are still beguiled by Corbyn. The reason? because so many of our population still have no understanding of the way our country is controlled. All the 2014 issues of currency, pensions, jobs etc are as unclear to joe public as ever..and this is the SNP’s biggest weakness allied with its total inaction in face of the propaganda onslaught.

    Don’t believe me?…check out how unpopular Nicola Sturgeon has become…just like AS before her…the drip drip of poisonous personalised propaganda is working. To echo ‘Mungo’ if we don’t get the SNP to start directly challenging the BBC and the msm toe to toe, we will definitely lose the next and any subsequent Referendums. Add in the increasing RUK migration into Scotland and the numbers soon will not add up. The grass roots cannot do it on their own, we expect the SNP to lead the fight, not expect us to coordinate the media battle.

    1. Mungo

      Thanks for your support!
      Can I ask all SNP members who agree that the SNPs tactical approach to dealing with the MSM is failing and must change now, to please contact them and voice your concerns.

    2. Clydebuilt

      Well said Mungo and Lochside. . . . . There’s a well known Pro Indy letter writer . . . Keeps pushing this is the time for IndyRef2 . . . . He’s not even prepared to con seed at the very least the YES movement need to get out there and defend the Scot Gov’s record in office.
      The SNP have always maintained that they have to demonstrate they can govern well . . . . Since Sept 2014 the MSM have attacked the SNP’s competency NHS,Police, Teaching, Rail, (have I missed something) it’s all in crisis . . Any rabid Yoon tgat gets onto Call KayE can’t wait to tell everyone about tge crisis. . . . . . Recent Wings poll found that Scots thought their NHS was better than England’s . . . But only slightly better. . . . .
      About 6 months I contacted a (very) senior party employee . . . The reply was pathetic.

  2. Harry Molloy

    This lady, Editor was the final straw for me. I do not ever watch BBC television news due to the inbuilt (English) establishment bias. STV news while still a wee bit less than pro independent, is much better anyway. As for Radio Scotland, gave that up for Smooth Scotland which is better fun and still has Scottish news and traffic etc. So I thank IndyRef2 for pointing out this information, as otherwise I would have remained ignorant of the facts.

  3. Robert Graham

    As usual too little too late and the apology effectively buried in it the sports section of the daily star , absolutely no where near the prominence given to the original LIE ,

    But that wasnt the point ,the BBC know the Scottish media would never follow this LIE so they promote an easily discounted LIE then have the brass neck to say oops got it a wee bit wrong on that one ,

    But getting it wrong is the way the BBC in Scotland operate , it fools only the fools its meant fool , the other people who have woken up to their twisted shenanigans , every single thing this government organisation reports as news is now viewed with suspicion .

    The North Koreans & indeed Pravda could learn from this lots method’s , the checks we should have in place to keep them honest have been removed long ago , they operate with impunity , It must be bad if even the Donald called them out as purveyors of fake news , now that really is a ringing endorsement .

  4. ScotsCanuck

    Too bloody right she should apologise on prime time TV …. she’s not “sorry” for peddling the lie in her position as the Scottish Editor …. oh! no, she’s only “sorry” she got caught lying.

    Now the sleekit, conniving, devious wee minx tries to atone for her duplicity with a “sorry” tweet …… not good enough, she stood there and either lied through her teeth (which I believe) or parroted the “facts” without even a cursory check on their veracity (qualifies as unfit for purpose).
    Whichever of these is the case, it still demands an “on air” prime time apology ….. and I wholeheartedly agree, the SNP should pull out all the stops and demand the same.
    Time to expose this Unionist propaganda and collusion within the BBC.

  5. Graham D Maclean

    Polling expert James Kelly tweeted: “A rare apology from Sarah Smith is welcome, but to have made the mistake in the first place she must have either been unaware that the population of Scotland is 5 million, or thought it was plausible that 2% of the entire population spent 4 hours in A&E within a single week.”

    Worse than that James that 100000 was only 22% of those attending A&E — she must of thought that it was plausible that the total number attending A&E that week was 454,545.
    Now that would make the news as most of them would still be waiting as I write.

    Incompetence or bias?

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