Letters: Care centre closure would be disaster for Scots MS sufferers

REGARDING the impending closure of Leuchie House MS Holiday Centre in East Lothian.

Leuchie House has a national, indeed international, reputation as a centre of excellence. It is undoubtedly the "jewel in the crown" of the MS Society Scotland, providing high quality care for people across Scotland and the north of England. The specialist nursing and care staff provide an uplifting experience and the holiday feeling is enhanced by the excellent accommodation, entertainment and various outings. There is also an opportunity for loved ones to share holidays with the person suffering from MS. An excellent day respite service is also provided. I very much doubt whether these facilities would be available anywhere else in Scotland.

The MS Society has used the rationale for closure that only a small percentage of MS sufferers use the holiday facilities provided by the Society. Leuchie clientele are generally the most severely disabled of all MS sufferers, requiring assistance in every aspect of day-to-day living. They cannot enjoy an overseas holiday, walk, or stay in a hotel. What can they do now, except look to a bleak future? I find this prospect particularly moving when I recollect a guest telling me that the only thing in life that kept her going was the prospect of the next holiday at Leuchie.

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I, for one, will fight the cause to keep Leuchie open as long as I am able but it needs people and organisations fitter than me to ensure success. To coin a phrase used in the last election "Leuchie needs Scottish champions to ensure its survival". Its closure is likely to have significant consequences on the Scottish health service and local authorities.

Trevor Callaway, Netherlaw, North Berwick

Good health can't equal a good life

IT APPEARS that both health professionals and others, including MSPs, have some difficulty in drawing a distinction between being in good health and of wellbeing.

The former state is achieved by a regime of exercise, abstinence from both alcohol and tobacco, and a good diet.

One may live to the age of 90 and beyond following the exercise/abstinence code but who would want to? Life for many of us is miserable enough already without extending the pain. These are undoubtedly the same grouping of people that call empty houses homes and think that arithmetic is the same as maths.

Their mission in life seems to be focused on extending it for everybody to its furthest limit without much regard to whether the individual is actually enjoying it. As for the politicians, their brief is quite simple: keep them healthy, they'll stay out of hospital and therefore we won't spend any money on them.

The expression live in hope, die in despair springs to mind.

N Nisbet, Moat House, Edinburgh

Run cycle menace off pavements

DO WE need to have a fatality before the authorities do something about bikes on pavements?

What part of society gets away with ignoring the highway code, needs no qualifications, contributes nothing to the upkeep of roads or pavements? Answer: people on bicycles.

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Every day there are incidents when someone on a bike has frightened or hurt a pedestrian (these are the people that use the pavements). If one dares to remonstrate with these people it's usually abuse or the big finger.

One day soon there will be a serious accident. As a citizen I must insist the police and civil servants take action to support the citizens they serve.

Ian Stevenson, Chancelot Terrace, Edinburgh

Referendum a recipe for disaster

I AM against a referendum on the tram project or on any other issue.

Once you have one you would have every pressure group demanding a referendum for or against their particular issue.We elect councillors to take decisions for us.

Referendums should only be used on matters of constitutional change and after weeks of media coverage by all groups.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh.