The Courier/Press and Journal: Tracking the NHS in Scotland

The Courier / Press and Journal

Tracking the NHS in Scotland

Credit: Lesley-Anne Kelly, Head of Data Journalism Emma Morrice, Data Journalist Joely Santa Cruz, Data Journalist Cheryl Livingstone, Special Projects Editor Richard Prest, Head of Content Development The Courier/Press and Journal data team were put together with the aim of democratising data for our readers. They combine technical skills with traditional reporting to tell stories in new and innovative ways. Our NHS in Scotland is in crisis, but just how bad is the situation? For the first time ever the Courier/Press and Journal data team have collated Scottish NHS waiting times/hospital data alongside data on relevant targets and presented them visually in a meaningful way for the people in our areas. They created a suite of nine tracker articles, each one looking at a different facet of the NHS and accompanied by an explainer on the relevant targets. For each one our readers can drill down to the health board level, and in many cases down to individual hospital level. Every chart in all nine articles update automatically. The data is pulled and analysed using a combination of programming languages R and python and the automation of the scripts is done using a relatively new technology called Github Actions. All of the data and code is openly available on our team Github page to contribute to other coders/data scientists in Scotland and allow for full transparency and accountability of our methods. The subjects tracked in the series are: Accident and emergency waiting times Drug and alcohol waiting times Cancer treatment waiting times Musculoskeletal services waiting times Diagnostic test waiting times IVF waiting times Cancelled operations Child and adult mental health waiting times Delayed discharges The response to the series has been huge - each tracker has a form for readers to fill in and tell us their stories and many of these case studies have been picked up and covered by our health and wellbeing teams. One reader had the following to say in the comments section of our cancer waiting times tracker: "Quite remarkable work by the Courier. No other daily paper in Scotland is doing work of this quality. This will become the reference standard for politicians across Scotland." Links to all articles are below (all trackers appeared on both the Courier and Press and Journal but only Courier links have been provided purely to avoid duplication) Or all of the articles can be found via this link: Due to the scale of the project and style of articles, providing a pdf has not been possible.