Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Scottish experiment

Sir Harry Burns ,who was Chief Medical Officer for eight years, left the Scottish Government in 2014 to become Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde. He is very enthusiastic about early intervention and prevention.
"Transforming the health and wellbeing of Scots is the single most important thing we can do and at the heart of that process is doing things for children, getting children off to the best possible start in life. The Bookbug programme is a critical part of it. Getting children to read and getting parents reading to children and sharing that experience will have a very significant impact on their future health and wellbeing."
Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health, Strathclyde University
According to this view, all Scotland`s woes and inequalities are due to their negligent parenting. No wonder he thinks all children in Scotland need a Named Person !

Here he is talking at the Raising Attainment For All conference.

RAfA LS 10 - Sir Harry Burns from Raising Attainment For All on Vimeo.

Sir Harry begins his talk by introducing the audience to Nina, his little granddaughter, who was filmed in a bookstore selecting a book. He says: "So Peppa`s just been joined by her little brother just two weeks old whom she calls George. That`s not his name but Peppa Pig`s little brother is George. So Peppa now knows that every little brother is called George. So what you`ve been doing has certainly worked in my family."

Has it ?  Sir Harry has just confused his granddaughter with Peppa Pig !

But having softened up the audience, he then explains that he has been doing a lot of international things with the World Health Organisation, World Bank and the United Nations who all favour early intervention and a life course approach. No doubt, they will be very interested in the social experiment going on in Scotland.

He goes on to say: "We`re on the verge in Scotland of having a very complex linked dataset that will allow us to detect, I hope, the pattern of social pressure in homes that might lead to significant adverse events. Are you ready for that ?"

"Are you beginning to think how you might respond to that ?"

"Because this is children`s lives we`re talking about; not just deaths of children in childhood but the way in which they live their lives thereafter. And beginning to plot it all; beginning to use intelligence to protect abuse and neglect we need to up our game in the course of the next year or two."

As he said at the beginning of his speech: "It`s become clear to me that the kind of insights that you`re gathering...the approaches that you`re developing - actually the rest of the world needs them."

The Rest of the World be warned.


  1. Thought the text of these articles should go here:

  2. Thanks.

    There`s a lot of material there. Very interesting and relevant. It makes you wonder just who is running Scotland.