Letters: Sanction patients for NHS appointment no-shows

There were 771,000 missed hospital appointments in Scotland in 2012-13, costing the NHS around £60 million, which is a shocking waste of NHS resources, time and money.

At a time of austerity, surely those who continue to treat the NHS with contempt and waste taxpayers’ money should face a penalty for missing appointments. Apart from the Tories, the other political parties have ruled out a financial penalty.

Now is the time to be radical and the NHS should learn from the sanctions regime which is imposed on the unemployed.

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Unemployed people who miss an appointment can be sanctioned by having their benefits removed for one month. A second missed appointment is punished by a three month sanction and for a third offence the removal of all money for three years.

People who miss hospital appointments without good reason should be sanctioned and denied all NHS treatment for a first offence and up to three years denial of treatment for a third missed appointment. Children and vulnerable adults would not be subject to a sanctions regime.

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This would free up the NHS for those who value the service and allow resources to be focused on some of our most deprived communities and tackle the chronic health inequalities in Scottish society.

Jim Stewart, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh

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Blackford Hill building will add to parking woe

There is currently a major construction project (Higgs Building) on the Blackford Hill which, when finished, will result in new people wanting to arrive by car.

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A discussion this morning with Edinburgh planning tells me that the increased number of employees and their cars is not assessed before planning consent is given. What a disgrace!

There is currently an upper and a lower car park on the hill. The upper car park is Observatory property and overspills when full into the lower public car park. The lower one is full on a regular basis, so where will the new traffic go?

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Planning for new student accommodation in the southside of Edinburgh has been on occasion refused because of potential increased car parking problems, so why was planning consent given to the Higgs Building given without addressing this?

Gordon Henderson, 50 years a Hill user, Edinburgh

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Let’s keep out SNP in May general election

The first main political event of 2015 is the general election on May 7. Scotland must be aware of how important our votes are.

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The worst case scenario will be if the failed ex-first minister and his cohorts are elected in great numbers. Make no mistake, if this happens the split up of the UK will be their only agenda and this will mean a repeat of the two years before the referendum when no governance of Scotland took place.

The best case scenario would be for all the SNP candidates to lose their deposits. This can only happen if the people of Scotland come together and vote as they did in the referendum.

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The maths are simple – all SNP supporters came out and voted, they were beaten by 11 per cent, but this was by a combination of all other parties who sensibly wanted to remain in the Union.

To repeat this we need the parties to come together at local levels and form mini coalitions to beat the SNP.

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Finlay Mackintosh, Lochview, Forres

Instead of fines, council should empty the bins

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I read about the stupid fine given to James Alexander for fly tipping when in fact the wind blew his bin bag down the street (News, January 26).

Maybe it’s time Edinburgh council got fined for not emptying the bins often enough or uplifting the rubbish on a more frequent basis.

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Newington is a prime example of the big bins on the pavement overflowing and people just dumping rubbish beside them. Go after the real culprits who don’t care about the eyesores they leave behind as its usually not where they live anyway.

Come on Edinburgh City Council, wake up and start listening to the people you are supposed to represent as they often have far better ideas than you.

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Mrs Susan Smart, Newington, Edinburgh

Forget Flower, let’s have Rabbie Burns

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Colin Smail argues that a Scottish national anthem is right to have anti-English words and that Flower of Scotland is relevant to modern Scottish politics (Letters, January 26).

Should we not have an anthem that speaks to all of us and not just to one political agenda? Does Mr Smail really want the rest of the world to see us in this light? Could an anthem not extoll our warmth, our invention, our fairness and our wit?

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A Man’s a Man for a That might sing well on the terraces. “That Man to Man, the world o’er, shall brothers be for a’ that.”

Even the English.

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Neil Barber, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh

UK health sharing serves Scotland best

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Following three weeks in the Royal Free Hospital in London, the Scottish nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, has made a complete recovery from Ebola.

This joyous news made me think: is there a better illustration of how much we Scots benefit from the ‘pooling and sharing’ arrangement we currently enjoy as part of the United Kingdom?

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Andrew Hamilton, Gifford, East Lothian