Dear Sir Ian, 

Misleading statistics used by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health. 

 I write to you regarding the above matter. 

You may be aware of recent media reports concerning statistics that were used by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Humza Yousaf, regarding hospitalisations of children and COVID-19. 

In an interview on BBC Radio Scotland on 2nd June 2021 around 8:10am,  Mr Yousaf said the following: ‘When I look at the hospital figures for last week, there was 10 young children – 0-9 years old – who were hospitalised because of COVID’. 

At the time of this statement these statistics were not available in the public domain. When the Scottish Government were asked for the statistics, not only did they take a day to release them, the released statistics showed that the figure used by Mr Yousaf was not actually for children being treated primarily for COVID-19. Instead he had quoted statistics for hospital admissions (a category which can include patients who have COVID-19 without any symptom but test positive on arrival or during stays). 

Health experts, including those from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have had to reassure parents that there are very few children in hospital in Scotland due to COVID-19. They added that very small number of admissions who test positive for COVID-19 is expected. 

Mr Yousaf’s comments caused needless alarm and were a misuse of statistics. I am sure that you would agree that the correct use of statistics is paramount, especially during a public health crisis. I would be grateful if you could investigate this matter and take appropriate action as you see fit. 

Yours sincerely, 

Annie Wells MSP


Related links:

Response from Sir David Norgrove to Annie Wells MSP – Hospital admissions data