Letters: Why it's crucial to attend scanning appointments

I HAVE just come home from a hospital after having a mastectomy operation and would like to draw attention to how important it is to attend the appointments to have the mammogram test done. This is the most reliable way to detect early breast cancer.

Should you receive a letter to come for further tests – as I did – you are given a time to attend a clinic in Ardmillan House, where you undergo various tests and biopsies. The staff there are most caring and will answer all your queries and try to keep you calm and stress-free at a very worrying time.

You then receive an appointment to see the surgeon who gives you the result of your tests. That is when I was told I needed a mastectomy. I thought "Why me? What have I done to deserve this, I must try to be brave." You then receive a date for the surgery, which takes place at the Western General.

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The operation was done by the consultant Mr Barber and went very well. I had outstanding care at Longmore ward 6. One and all they were like angels and I cannot praise them enough.

I now must wait to see if I require further treatment.

But I stress again how important it is for women to attend the mammogram examination so treatment if required can start promptly. We are lucky to be offered this service free in the UK. In other countries in Europe you have to pay to have it done.

Helen Hunter, Laburnum Arch Court, Prestonpans

No rest from Porty High campaign

JUST what is Cllr. Stephen Hawkins' point, "setting the record straight on school" (letters, 18 June). I had hoped we could all get a rest from the Portobello High campaign for the summer – not so.

His "corrections" on other letters state the 6 million (actually 5.75m) required to be invested in Portobello High is partially for "a long-term investment estimated by surveyors based on the assumption that the school has a longer life than is intended". Just what does this mean?

Is he trying to twist the facts to keep the school on the current site?

This sum of 5.75m was essential maintenance required to keep the school open due to years of neglect in our educational facilities. This sum is now around half as PHS is to be rebuilt.

As for it being "long term" the council's own survey states: "Beyond five years other planned maintenance and repairs will be required. This should be based on a further assessment undertaken toward the end of the five-year period". Is this what he calls long term?

William Wilson, Portobello High Street

Devine's acts scar other MPs' names

I HAD a great respect for the late Member of Parliament Robin Cook. I am not a Labour Party supporter.

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Jim Devine's actions have not only mired the good name of West Lothian but tarnished MPs past and present.

He should be sacked as any other worker would have been.

Urgent employment and performance reform is needed at both parliamentary and local authority levels.

Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh

Politicians should follow Sir Fred

WITH the MPs' expenses scandal rumbling on and on, I do wonder when it will all end, what the outcome will be and most importantly if the public will get the fair deal that it most certainly deserves.

I would like to think that when, as promised, the far-reaching changes have been applied, new MPs, possibly even a new government elected, that common sense and transparency will be the order of the day.

However from the more cynical point of view I am more inclined to believe that nothing much will change and if anything the way MPs go about their expenses and what they claim for will become even more secretive and deceptive.

Perhaps parliament should take a leaf out Sir Fred Goodwin's book who is now prepared to accept a smaller pension, and instigate a radical reform of the way MPs are paid, with those who are fulfilling their election promises and having a positive impact within their constituencies earning the most!

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

What's being done about Usher Hall?

AS you are probably aware there have been major renovation works being carried out in the Usher Hall.

I know the Usher Hall is going to reopen in time for the Festival, but have been told that the Portakabins being used by the building workers will remain in situ during the Festival as some works are ongoing.

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This action will be very detrimental to all the local retailers, who rely on the Festival for a major part of their sales, in the area and the theatregoing public at large.

The Festival is a time when Edinburgh comes alive, the population almost doubles during the month of August.

Is this really the right way to show off our fine and beautiful city?

Many visitors will be flocking to the newly opened Usher Hall only to be greeted by dirty looking Portakabins at the theatre.

We may be called Auld Reekie but this is meant to be a term of endearment, I fear that visitors will not feel the same.

What are the council going to do about it?

Douglas Lindsay, Caberston Avenue, Walkerburn