Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A nice economic stats explainer here.


Liam Murray said...

Heartily recommend their book - 'The Tiger that isn't' - for loads more examples.

Including (should Labour supporters be too cheered by this piece) a decent explanation on how waiting times haven't really been cut at all - the average has becasue there were massive outliers that distorted the numbers but the median wait times across most areas & groups are either static or have actually worsened.

Paulie said...

Will look it out Liam - thanks.

I'm not much of a fan of policy that focusses just on measureables like waiting times either. But one of the things about waiting lists that was really unbearable was the ridiculously long ones. Same at A&E. Arriving and being told that you had a 7 hour wait (as I did when I broke my ankle) was just too much. I was told that it was usually 3-4 hours, but the fact that you could end up waiting that long just devalued the service in a way that consistent times may not have done.

Liam Murray said...

Agree - I guess the issue is when politicians try to characterise a change in a way that's actually misleading in terms of how most people actually experience it.

The big reduction in waiting times Labour have achieved is at least in part a function of addressing those ridiculous 18/24 months waits and for the tiny population that experienced them that's a huge positive.

The flip side is that whereas the majority of people might have waited c.6-8 weeks in the past they're now waiting 10-12 so most people's experience of the service is that it's far poorer while the government can justifiably claim to have reduced the average.