Letters: Councillors are failing to meet own commitments

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In his letter on June 20, Councillor Andrew Burns, in response to a previous letter, re-iterated both his personal and the council’s commitment to fairness, accountability and responsibility.

Can Cllr Burns therefore explain why Councillor Lesley Hinds has failed to respond to an e-mail sent to her on June 7, in which I gave three examples of long-standing council failures in the maintenance within this city?

Those examples are the broken railings on the central reservation in Leith Street, which have been in their present state for at least four years; the broken railings outside the old GPO on the Bridges which have been replaced by barriers for at least a year. The last example was a sign on a traffic island which had not been replaced for over six months.

On the last point I also raised the road safety aspect with Cllr Hinds and asked what timescale should the council operate to reinstate these signs, as there are many missing.

Now whether I should have received a reply from Cllr Hinds or someone within her department is of no consequence, I should have had a reply within the timescale set out in the council’s Standards of Service, although failing to do so is quite common for them.

This failure or refusal by the council to respond seems somewhat at odds with Cllr Burns claim of accountability and responsibility.

David Black, Kenmure Avenue, Edinburgh

NHS Lothian vigilant over data protection

I WRITE in response to your article which wrongly states that a former sub-contracted worker at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh accessed patient medical records (News, June 21).

Both the comments attributed to Margaret Watt, from the Scottish Patients Association, and the headline of your article are misleading and l fear they will have caused undue alarm to the public.

Your article erroneously states that patient medical records were accessed and implies that NHS Lothian were in some way at fault for this.

The individual did not gain access to any confidential patient records at the time and instead read only the patient’s name from an electronic screen in a staff area showing a floor plan of the department.

NHS Lothian takes data protection and patient confidentiality extremely seriously. We constantly reinforce data security procedures to our staff and sub-contracted employees to ensure they comply with our guidelines.

Any member of staff who breaks our rules will face investigation under our disciplinary procedures. This was a regretful incident and we would not wish to cause any more undue stress to the patient involved.

Stuart Wilson, director of communications and public affairs

NHS Lothian

Friends and allies however we vote

On September 18, 2014 the electorate will say “Yes” or “No” to the question “Should Scotland be independent?”

If we vote “Yes” we will have independence but we will always remain a friend and ally to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Harold Nicolson, Tollcross, Edinburgh

What use is nuclear deterrent to the UK?

I FEEL compelled to question the wisdom of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

It was of no assistance when Argentina invaded the Falklands; it failed to combat the efficiency of a couple of Icelandic gunboats; Saddam Hussein, Milosevic and the IRA were undeterred; it seems to be totally impotent against the Taliban in Afghanistan and, even combined with the nuclear might of France, it didn’t discourage the rebels in Mali.

As I understand it, the missiles cannot be fired without the consent of the United States, so why is it funded at gigantic expense by the British taxpayer or is this what is meant by “a special relationship”?

Would it not be much better if we just had a “pretendy” deterrent? This would cost nothing; the threat of an explosion next to Scotland’s largest centre of population would be removed and, sorry Uncle Sam, we could fire missiles whenever we liked!

Indeed with a “pretendy” deterrent it could, in the event of Scottish independence, be re-established near London, at minimal expense, along with all other things British.

Joseph G Miller, Gardeners Street, Dunfermline

Sadly, gay hatred
has not gone away

June 24 was the 40th anniversary of the horrific “Upstairs Lounge” massacre in New Orleans when 32 gay people and family members were burned to death in a bar.

The police denied arson, nobody was ever charged and many bodies were never claimed by their families.

Today we see institutional gay-hatred by the modern church being indulged as Christian conscience. We see the disgraceful procrastination by the SNP government on marriage equality. The thin end of that wedge is still with us.

Neil Barber, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh

Restaurant owners are not beyond law

I COULDN’T believe M Ashraf’s letter (June 17) regarding the Mosque Kitchen in Edinburgh getting raided from the UK Border Agency.

Mr Ashraf seems to think the people behind the Mosque Kitchen are beyond the law with implying rather than paying the £70,000 fine they should pay a large sum of money to a Muslim charity!

If you break the law by employing illegals and get a large fine you only have yourself to blame.

Graeme Cornwall, Barnton Avenue, Edinburgh