Readers' Letters: GPs are living life of Riley during pandemic

A fourth dose of Covid-19 needed (your report, 24 December)? It's taken two years just to get three, each session proving an increasingly elongated farce. My last one was on 23 December, jabbed at 2.50pm after queuing largely in the freezing cold and rain for what was supposed to be a 1.30pm appointment, via three levels of identical bureaucracy.

High Street pharmacies are handling more prescriptions, says reader (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
High Street pharmacies are handling more prescriptions, says reader (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

While the rest of the NHS buckles under the strain of Covid, GP staff are living the live of Riley: on full pay courtesy of the taxpayer but with little to do thanks to Covid-19 restrictions on patients' ability to access services, and repeat prescription users coerced into allowing their local pharmacists to handle their medication.To little surprise, some have attempted to exploit this situation by trying to move users to "equivalent" (ie. more profitable for the pharmacy) drugs, blaming "supply issues" which, remarkably, vanish when challenged. GP surgeries aren't even supplying flu jabs, forcing asthmatics like myself and others with health issues to pay a local pharmacy £14 for the privilege of what our taxes are meant to provide annually. Covid 19 has been a dripping roast for high street pharmacists.2022 must see a wholesale reassessment and redeployment of our health service resources – we simply cannot afford this farrago to continue.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

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Democracy dead?

It’s Boxing Day as I write, one day ahead of the UK Government’s review of what happens next in terms of Covid spread preventative measures – note that’s “preventative measures”, as opposed to “restrictions”, used by others.

The powerful 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady has expressed his opinion: “As we look forward to the new year, it is time to move on from the lazy assumption that government has the right to control our lives; we should take responsibility for our own lives once again.”

The undemocratic group within the Conservative & Unionist Party, previously known as the European Research Group has metamorphosed into the Covid Recovery Group. It is the very same group that pressurised for Brexit, and we have the evidence of their handiw ork in the areas of fishing, farming, health and hospitality. Members make statements like: “If No. 10 proposes any tighter restrictions after Christmas, those freedom-loving Cabinet ministers must speak out.”

Possible candidates for Prime Minister, should Boris Johnson stand down, are advised that their positions on this issue would be remembered.

A year after Brexit, the evidence is starting to be visible. Food left to rot in the fields. Fish failing to get to market in time. Hospitality lacking staff.

The latest result of the Brexit debacle is that Home Secretary Priti Patel has relaxed the rules for Foreign Nationals entering the Care Sector to back-fill vacancies left when foreign workers went home and didn’t come back.

So this Covid Recovery Group is now going to try to set the direction of government policy that affects us all. A group of 80-100 MPs can change the direction of a 650-MP Parliament. That’s UK democracy.

Alistair Ballantyne, Birkhill, Angus

Is sun to blame?

While one must respect the earnest pleas for decarbonisation of the UK and the other nations, newer scientific findings have switched the main “blame” for planetary overheating away from carbon dioxide to the sun as the primary influence.

The views of the UN's Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change are now focusing on the sun, cosmic rays and water vapour as the main controllers of the planet's changing temperatures.

Water vapour comprises 95 per cent of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere whose proportion of CO2 is 3.8 per cent. Cosmic rays' impacts on the atmosphere, forming clouds, increase with reductions in the sun's activity – at present it is in decline.

Reports from Canadian colleagues Professor Gerald Ratzer and Douglas Lightfoot show that CO2, although not a fully "innocent bystander", has been wrongly seen as the main influence on Earth's temperature. The sun's varying impact on water vapour along with cosmic rays are the main movers. Previously, our sun's influence was very poorly understood and its effects largely omitted from relevant calculations.

These findings mean that de-carbonisers are on the wrong scientific track in blaming rising atmospheric CO2 levels for planetary warming.

Once this shift of the blame from CO2 to the sun becomes more widely recognised and accepted, the vast costs and societal upsets of decarbonisation will, logically, be avoidable.

Although not wanting to antagonise those at present trusting to and seeking de-carbonisation, I am sure they will agree that our scarce resources must not be wasted.

(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth

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Energy irony

As the year winds down, think on this: every single working person involved directly or indirectly in Scotland’s crown jewels of our industry, oil and gas exploration, are now facing at the very least a most uncertain future. Those making decisions in this country at present show at best a laissez faire attitude to their plight; at worst a downright antagonism to the industry, which altogether employs tens of thousands. It is a ruthless, Margaret Thatcher-style approach in all but name.

To the SNP/Green coalition now in control, virtue signalling and masochistic, posturing policies are far more important than serious and joined-up thinking and planning ahead. Fortune had brought these energy riches to Scotland, the SNP are taking them away decades prematurely. No-one is suggesting that these industries could last forever. Oil, like coal, is a finite substance. But the strategy and methods used and, most importantly, the timing involved in the gradual rundown of the old fossil fuels while new and secure sources and methods of keeping the people alive and well are found, is critical.

And, of course, to complete the picture of gross incompetence and an irony to end all ironies, we shall have to import the oil and gas needed to survive at vastly inflated prices.

Rushing into banning and virtue-signalling is catastrophically the wrong thing to do and using this looming crisis as a political football is criminal and our children and grandchildren will be the ones to pay.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

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