Medical alert

Dr A McCormick (Letters, 6 April) is concerned that the attitude of some official organisations to nuclear medicine in all its forms may have had a negative impact on staffing in radiation oncology departments and aggravated the situation I am seeking to highlight.

While I agree with Dr McCormick that there are organisations and political parties which take a less than scientific approach to the use of nuclear power, it has never been my experience that the development of modern radiotherapy and ionising radiation in diagnostic services has been inhibited or restricted by those in authority who hold such views.

The new cancer centre in Glasgow was able to develop and install the most modern radiation and radioactive therapy equipment with the full support of all regulatory and safety authorities. I believe the same applies across other Scottish hospitals.

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Scotland has the equipment it needs to deliver the most modern and, what I would consider, standard radiotherapy in all five of its centres; the current government and its predecessor have ensured that. Some centres continue to lack the staff needed to deliver such services. Lack of staff is not the only problem.

My concern is that the government we have elected in the past eight years and which has the responsibility to ensure such services are available to all Scots is content to take credit whenever it can, apportions blame readily to health boards when they fail but tries to ignore and down-play what I call the postcode lottery of radiotherapy services.

Unless this government takes a more active role here, the people of Scotland will continue to receive a service that elsewhere is considered sub-standard.

(Dr) Alan Rodger

Clairmont Gardens