Readers' Letters: SNP should nationalise the NHS in Scotland

I am fortunate to live in the East Neuk of Fife, not in one of Scotland’s heavily populated conurbations. Here, our local GPs are part of the community and as such, it is not so difficult to make contact, and I’m very grateful for that.

However, the days of home visits are long past, and even here the preference is for telephone appointments to be made to describe symptoms to a qualified doctor or nurse by telephone before any possibility for physical examination unless there is an emergency.

The recent statement by Humza Yousaf that it will take five years to reform the NHS in Scotland is just another example of the SNP’s failure to provide detail of “the Plan” to the Scottish public.

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It seems to me that the root of the problem here is management failure and the weaknesses in fiscal management that sees large salaries paid to bureaucratic executives while frontline services and staff are being starved of funding. Why do we need so many managers in our health service and why are we treating all NHS institutions, be they hospitals or GP surgeries, as businesses?

The NHS under Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is not improving quickly enough, reckons reader (Picture: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Surely if the SNP can nationalise rail services and shipbuilding in Scotland, it should be prioritising nationalisation of our health services?

Its no good for Holyrood to suggest, as they so often do, that the situation in England is no better. Are they not aware of the long-held adage that “comparisons are odious”? We should expect much better from our devolved government that has only a fraction of the national responsibilities that are a requirement of Westminster.

If budget concerns are such an issue, maybe the SNP should be forgetting about ring-fencing its £25 million to meet referendum costs and cancelling the planned jolly to Sharm El Sheikh by Nicola Sturgeon and her entourage.

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Gavin No-Job

Let’s begin at the top table! Our latest Prime Minister has been criticised for bringing back into the Cabinet twice-sacked Sir Gavin Williamson as Minister of State without Portfolio – so much for economies and reducing public expenditure! Do we really need a roving Minister without Portfolio when essential jobs are being axed? This past year or so many Cabinet ministers have resigned or were sacked and it becomes difficult to know who does what, never mind the extra costs involved in moving the chairs around the Cabinet table.

Indeed, do we really require quite so many Ministers at that table?

Jim Craigen, Edinburgh

What democracy?

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Les Reid is wrong when he writes that there is “a fully democratic Parliament in the UK” (Letters, 31 October). Has he forgotten the role of the unelected House of Lords in discussing, amending and passing UK legislation? Like me, he has never voted in an election for any member of the House of Lords.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

‘Peatering’ out?

Recently the green MSP Lorna Slater said all fossil fuels should be banned. I assume she included peat and she will ban the cutting and burning of this fuel.This will enable peat bogs to absorb carbon and prevent the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.I do hope that she has run this new policy before Ian Blackford and got his reaction. Best of luck with this one Lorna.

Alastair Paisley, Juniper Green, Edinburgh

Windy myths

The industrial wind nonsense has reached a whole new level.RWE, one of the German companies spearing its giant turbines across Scotland and lecturing us insignificant rural dwellers that it is necessary to “save the planet”, is actively dismantling a wind development in its home country to make way for its dirty brown coal mine expansion.

The sooner people realise that wind developers are not our saviours, the better. They follow the money, our money. They will go with whatever pays them the most and keeps their shareholders happy. Wind has predictably been unable to give Germany energy security. Vladimir Putin has turned their gas tap off, nuclear was demonised and now they are turning back to lignite to keep their lights on and their citizens warm before all the trees get cut down by desperate families.

If ever a lesson should be learned this, is it. Putting all your eggs in the renewable basket will lead to blackouts and misery. Green is the new blackout and renewables should be renamed The Regrettables. Until our policy makers get a grip and engage with independent engineers and economists we are heading for a very dark, cold and expensive future.

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Saddle up the green unicorns, folks, it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.

Lyndsey Ward, Darach Brae, Inverness-shire

Sunak’s folly

A nation's riches, spent to meet vital national needs of all kinds, including its people's welfare, depend upon its natural assets.

Petroleum products, vital for so many valid purposes, may be recoverable by fracking, as was promised in Rishi Sunak's pre-election manifesto as a candidate for UK government leadership. Mr Sunak evidently judges that clamorous pressure from Green groups is more important and worthy than is our virtually broke and energy-starved nation's proper needs. If that is representative of his way of doing things, he is unfit to hold Prime Ministerial office.

At the very least, further pilot studies are essential to study fracking's safety and efficacy in the UK, designed and carried out by relevant, independent experts. After all, electricity generation based on wind-power was introduced without pilot studies. That now costs us billions of pounds and with no end in sight. This means of electricity production is very flawed by intermittency and myriad additional problems.

Pre-installation evaluation of wind turbines could have allowed much more rational policies for their application. They are not even Green when account is taken of greenhouse gases produced in manufacture alone.

The PM has now arbitrarily deprived the nation of petroleum from fracking, potentially vital as a source of energy, and of petroleum-derivatives, and evidently without due consideration.

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In the national interest, Mr Sunak must think again.

Charles Wardrop, Perth

Whip it

It is a basic tenet of our democracy that MSPs are meant to represent the wishes of the people. How does this square with Nicola Sturgeon's iron rule over her MSPs' voting intentions?

The recent debacle over the Gender Reform Act demonstrates that if MSPs are given their own choice, they do not always support government policies. The SNP's Shona Robison has now said there was “overwhelming support” for this bill but it is understood that other MSPs were not happy about the whip being installed, even in other parties.

This is not a democratic act by Holyrood and the fact it has to be forced through reinforces this. This is a sorry moment for Scottish democracy and the blame does not lie in Westminster this time, but Holyrood.

The big question is, why is Nicola Sturgeon so adamant that this bill must become law?

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

Poor old players

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Many football pundits and others have commented recently on the state of Scottish football and in particular the poor performances of our SPL teams in Europe. While most would agree that Ange Postecoglou has done an impressive job in turning around Celtic’s fortunes and Giovanni van Bronckhorst has also been impressive in guiding Rangers to a Europa League Final, both men have expressed concerns at the demands of persistently playing competitive matches twice per week, as has Robbie Neilson of Hearts.

Clearly the physical and mental demands of the modern game are tough, especially when regularly travelling to stadia scattered across Europe, but although our teams are often playing there against teams with much greater financial resources, all of our teams have demonstrated that they can compete well when they have their best players, fit and in-form, to select from.

Regrettably, this is not always the case and this is where the top European clubs have a considerable advantage when some of their supposed “back-up players” have individually commanded transfer fees in excess of the cost of the entire squads of Scottish teams.

Most realists would agree that the sales of Bassey and Aribo were logical and represented good business for Rangers given the club’s still-fragile finances, but the catalogue of injuries to players in these key positions has not only caused Rangers to struggle but has increased the demands on other players in the squad. Goldson, Helander, Souttar, Lawrence, Haji, and Lowry are all currently not available to van Bronckhorst for selection, while versatile midfield players Jack and Kamara have struggled with injuries and other injured players, such as Morelos and Roofe, have still not returned to their best.

Is it any surprise in the circumstances that while all our teams have at times played great football, at other times they have fallen short of expectations and looked jaded or not “up-to-speed” with the game.

Although criticised at the time for saying so, an objective perspective on Scottish football would probably agree with van Bronckhorst that critics of our teams should be realistic and consider their relative resources before judging overall performance levels.

Perhaps before passing judgement on the managers of our teams relative to our high ambitions we all need to take a reality check?

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Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

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