Readers' Letters: Sturgeon won’t be on NHS workers' Christmas list

Nicola Sturgeon could have given our excellent but exhausted NHS staff some early Christmas cheer by extending vaccine passports. Instead she claims bringing in additional restrictions now would be disproportionate as cases are stable or falling.

Is Nicola Sturgeon playing with lives by not extending the Covid passport scheme (Photo by Wattie Cheung - Pool/Getty Images)

What Ms Sturgeon didn’t tell us was that testing has reduced by nearly 10 per cent over the last three weeks from around 35,000 per day to around 32,000 a day last week. It’s obvious that if you test less there’s a good chance you will get fewer cases; in Glasgow the week before COP26 tests on average were over 3,800 per day but this fell to just over 3,200 per day last week, a drop of about 15 per cent. Over the same period the positivity rate rocketed from 5.6 per cent with 216 cases on average per day to over eight per cent last week with 260 average cases, despite falling testing, calling into question the Government’s claim just a couple of days after the conference that it had little effect on cases.More worryingly, health experts such as Gillian Evans were calling for the Government to extend passports with the insurance of a negative test on top to relieve pressure on hospitals. Once again the Government has put the economy before health and the hospitality lobbyists before NHS experts. Sensible people worried about those not double vaccinated are now more likely to simply avoid crowded hospitality venues.At 2,500 cases per day, health experts were already warning levels were too high to protect the NHS. Now, with cases levelling out just below 3,000 per day amidst a falling test rate and when mixing is about to mushroom, it’s deemed not worth implementing further restrictions. Nicola Sturgeon won’t be on any NHS worker’s Christmas card list this year, nor that of any family affected by her Government’s inaction.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

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Profit over lives

I have just heard about someone triple jabbed who has been infected with Covid by an asymptomatic carrier and is now on life support. The risk of ending up in ICU that so many run daily could be minimised by a vaccine passport for entry to public places. Even leaving aside that those getting vaccinated should not have their efforts foiled by those who are not, there are clear medical and commercial arguments for such a scheme. Currently the unvaccinated are allowed to mix silently with the vaccinated in public. People are dying as a result. Like unvaccinated NHS staff being allowed to put vulnerable patients at risk, both policies make a mockery of the vaccination system. Yesterday, on the basis of a three per cent drop in cases this week, our leaders again prioritised profit over lives. Why is there no mention that trade could benefit from a passport scheme: with it, those currently not going out would feel safer and more inclined to do so.

Felicity Graham, Perth

Nauseating

Leah Gunn Barrett’s letter yesterday using the deaths of people to drum up support for independence is nauseating. I don’t recall her leaping into print when ten Scottish Health Boards appeared in the top 20 WHO European hotspots for infection rates. Authorities all over the UK are doing their best to deal with a situation that ebbs and flows all the time. Using real lives for hypothetical political reasons is pretty desperate.

Ian Lewis, Edinburgh

Covid failure

The failure this week by Nicola Sturgeon to introduce further Covid measures or ban flights to and from countries with booming Covid figures like Austria or Germany is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Our NHS is collapsing under the pressure but once again the Scottish Government dithers instead of taking action. We will hit 13,000 Covid deaths before the winter is out at this rate.

David Watson, Leith, Edinburgh

Personal risks

I take exception to the chastising words uttered by the First Minister on people who do not get vaccinated (your report, 24 November).

I have an elderly relative who has decided not to get vaccinated. They are not an anti-vaxxer, they have their reasons for doing so, even though I wish they would get the vaccine. Having Nicola Sturgeon tell this person they are putting others at unnecessary risk is not helpful. It’s hurtful and threatening and is now worrying them. We must all take personal responsibility for protecting ourselves as much as we can. That was the whole point of the vaccine – get it to protect yourself. If my relative ends up with Covid, my having the vaccine protects me hopefully from serious health issues. They are aware of the risk they are taking.

Perhaps Ms Sturgeon should consider the impact of her words on all those who have not got vaccinated. Not all are young partygoers. My relative should not be made to feel they should spend Christmas alone due to the thoughtlessness of the First Minister.

Jane Lax, Aberlour, Moray

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Slippery slope

State “assisted dying” is again being presented to MSPs for consideration (your reports, 22 November). The moral and ethical framework of medicine developed since Hippocrates protects us from abuse by those we trust to look after us at times of vulnerability and ill health.

The 20th century reminds us what can happen when doctors are given a “licence to kill” in the name of “compassion” and the "greater good”.

The 1941 film Ich klage an (“I Accuse”) tells of a woman who develops MS and asks for euthanasia. Her husband obliges and is tried for murder. All the arguments we hear today are aired. Ultimately the filmmakers present the accusation as being against the health and legal systems for preventing this woman from accessing euthanasia.

This brings us to polls. Often leading questions are used to solicit the response desired by those who commission the polls. On deeper investigation, the figures mask much uncertainty once arguments against are considered. An ORB poll in March 2015, at the time of the last Holyrood Bill, found initial support for assisted suicide at 75 per cent. After arguments against were presented, support fell to 45 per cent.

When the impact on those who are vulnerable, the elderly and the disabled, is considered, public opinion changes rapidly. With scarcity of healthcare resources and the pressure on doctors to free up beds, it is obvious how assisted suicide or euthanasia could be abused.

Killing by doctors of those with psychiatric conditions and disabled infants occurs in the Netherlands. In Belgium, those with multiple minor age-related conditions are routinely euthanised. In Oregon, more than 50 per cent of people having an assisted suicide cite feelings of being a burden on family, friends or carers as a reason for seeking death.

The current law is the safeguard against abuse and should not be removed.

(Dr) Gordon Macdonald, CEO, Care Not Killing, Glasgow

Destroy letters

It has been reported that the Scottish Prison Service has drawn up plans to give prisoners photocopies of original letters “saturated with drugs”. At present it is illegal to destroy these letters. I am reminded of a query from a care worker to her manager regarding a resident who had been attacking staff with his Zimmer frame. She thought this could not be removed from him but was dangerous. The reponse was that while he was attacking staff it was a weapon and should be removed. When he agreed to use it as a walking aid then it must be returned to him.

There is a case for letters saturated with drugs to be disregarded as letters and treated as drugs and destroyed.

Malcolm Gentry, Kelso, Scottish Borders

Pretty poor PM

The depressing thing is that no matter how "shambolic" the present PM's speech on any subject might be, he or his party will still be voted into government, come the next General Election. He could advocate the wholesale slaughter of illegal immigrants and his voters would ignore it (“That's just a bit of Boris banter, haw haw!”). Will Britain ever have a PM again whom we can regard as a serious, well-informed statesman/woman? It looks increasingly unlikely.

Steve Hayes, Leven, Fife

Navel gazing

Deirdre Michie of Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) is right to highlight the monumental dithering over the Cambo oil field (“Oil and gas sector concerned over First Minister’s opposition to Cambo field”, 24 November).

Clarity on Cambo is essential for companies in the North Sea energy supply chain like Alderley, with both a Scottish and UK footprint to plan, recruit and invest. With Cambo in limbo we have the worst of both worlds.

Moreover, the UK’s current energy supply issues could be alleviated in the short term if both Scottish and UK governments provided clarity on domestic production. For years, both UK and Scottish governments have dithered while we continue to import vast quantities of foreign oil and gas at great cost to consumers and with fewer environmental safeguards than in the UK North Sea.

Cutting and running from oil and gas won't just harm our immediate economic prospects, it will also mean that technical skills that can be transferred into new industries like hydrogen and carbon capture storage will be lost for good. Like it or not, hydrocarbons will be around for decades to come so we might as well make the most of our own resources as well as keep jobs in Scotland. Instead of another round of navel gazing and virtue signalling, we need concrete action to ensure energy security and job security for the supply chain. This requires long-term commitment.

Colin Elcoate, Chief Executive, Alderley, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

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