Readers Letters: This worrying A&E trend must be reversed

The most recent A&E waiting times saw fewer than two in every three patients seen at A&E within four hours, well below the 95 per cent target. This new low comes as Health Minister, Humza Yousaf, warned Covid and flu admissions are expected to rise significantly. He expects “an exceptionally difficult winter”.

This is not just a crisis, it’s a dereliction of duty by a government that has presided over a sustained deterioration in waiting times since the target was last met at the Covid outbreak in early 2020 when many avoided A&E. Name-calling hospitals and telling them to urgently fix the issue doesn’t cut it when there is underlying chronic under-resourcing despite Scotland spending more per head on health than England. There continues to be more leaving the profession than being recruited leaving nurses overstretched, coupled with bed blocking due to insufficient resourcing of care packages.

The irony is that once a patient gets treated they get some of the best care in the world but they face waiting hours for an ambulance or to be admitted and end up in a much worse state than they were initially, and in hospital for longer. Nurses were already severely stretched during the worst of Covid but are fatigued and the situation is critical. No wonder the RCN is calling for an above-inflation pay increase to stem 2,000 nurses leaving every six months.

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Our NHS can’t sustain this performance. It is high time the Government allocated resources effectively and rewarded frontline care workers appropriately. This is literally a matter of life and death for us all: Dr John-Paul Loughrey, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, has stated that just based on last week’s delays 40 additional deaths are estimated within 30 days. The Health Minister needs to act quickly.

Humza Yousaf is predicting an 'exceptionally difficult winter' for the NHS

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

A distinct country

Azeem Ibrahim ignores the links of wealthy people of Russian origin to the UK Government, and the historical status of Scotland, in his article (Scotsman, 21 September). Here are some facts he omitted.

On 24 February in the House of Commons Boris Johnson stated, against a background of press criticism of donations to the Conservative and Unionist Party from donors with birth and/or business links to Russia, “we are putting forward… the biggest ever package to crack down on dirty Russian money”. This is the Prime Minister who nominated Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a former KGB officer, as a life peer, despite reported concerns from the UK’s security services.

The Regal Union of 1603 between Scotland and England did not mean Scotland then ceased to be “distinct on the international stage”. The two countries remained separate, although with the same monarch, retaining separate parliaments until the implementation of the 1707 Treaty. Because of that Treaty, Scotland’s legal system is still separate from that of England’s, and is recognised as “distinct on the international stage”, for example in the Lockerbie trial in the Scottish Court in The Netherlands in 2000.

E Campbell, Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire

Pollution threat

Our MPs like to claim that they are concerned about the climate chaos that is mainly caused by burning green house gases in factories and for heating houses and our transport.

However in practice the Liz Truss Conservative governnent in Westminster not only allows the increased pollution of the Cambo oil field but now is going to allow the Rosebank field that is three times larger!

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The greenhouse gas pollution from only one single North sea oil field is equivalent to the environment damage of 28 much poorer developing countries in the southern hemisphere.

Is it unreasonable to suspect all our MPs and MSPs who do not actively fight against these (very profitable) multinational oil companies in our North Sea, are anticipating very lucrative jobs after their parliamentary careers come to an end?

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders

Energy security

The current European situation is a stark reminder that if any country imports a significant amount of its energy as piped natural gas then it is tying itself to a single producer. Germany has suffered most in this respect, being firstly damned for financing Putin’s war and now being cut off from that energy supply with winter coming.

It is worth noting that electricity is even worse than gas in this respect – it can only be supplied in quantity by cable so can easily be deliberately shut off from either end, lost by accident, as has happened for long spells for both the Scotland/Ireland and France/England links, or by sabotage. Undersea connectors would be most vulnerable to the latter.

In country terms the aforementioned links supplied only a relatively small amount of power – but what would the consequences be for a major supplier or customer? Could we now see countries making a greater effort to obtain independence in energy provision? The United States, of course, has been very successfully doing this for a couple of decades by resorting to oil and gas production by fracking . Fracking of course has problems – what energy production doesn’t? However, especially for the benefits provided (the number of US fracking wells is of the order of hundreds of thousands), these are nowhere near the scale portrayed by its detractors.

Dr A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries & Galloway

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Dear Liz Truss, fracking is a pointless gamble on small quantities of expensive ...

Life’s purpose

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Rev David J Nixon thinks that without God (which god would that be?) we lack “purpose in life” (Scotsman, 20 September).

Does that mean believing that some unknown entity created the whole massive, perhaps infinite, universe 13.7 billion years ago just so that he could incarnate himself on this small planet to save us from our sins? That's a crazy scenario and Mr Nixon should question his sanity.

The Christian idea of the purpose of life flies in the face of science, which has shown how our universe emerged apparently by chance, as other universes probably do. It has no purpose; it just exists and intelligent life has also emerged by chance (lucky in our case as the odds on it happening were very low).

Life has no purpose except to survive and reproduce. We may each give our own lives a purpose and most of us do. Fanciful and superstitious notions are both unnecessary and harmful.

Mr Nixon's belief comes from a gross misunderstanding of Jesus’ life and purpose.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

Better together

The UK as a whole displayed tremendous solidarity following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Petty nationalism was set aside, except in a few expected cases. The unelected leader of the Scottish Green Party showed his “true colours” – much to his own detriment.

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Let us hope that such true British spirit will continue, and any further leanings towards a Scottish nationalist cause will disappear into oblivion. We are quite simply “Better Together”.

The same boat

Martyn McLaughlin Is positively gleeful at the new PM’s gloomy prospects of a trade deal with the USA (Scotsman, 21 September).

But cheer up, the EU doesn’t have one either so we’re no worse off in that respect than pre-Brexit. In fact you could say we are better off as we have negotiated other deals comparable to the EU, and will do so in future, without needing to contribute billions of pounds to Brussels to be in the same boat.

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Wrecking crew?

It is important to remain respectful when making comments about others, even those appearing to lack any objectivity or logical argument, but with the appointment of Stephen Kerr MSP as shadow education secretary of the Conservative Party in Scotland it would appear most troglodytes must see a bright future for themselves in this party.

MSP Kerr has single-handedly managed to diminish the reputation of Holyrood for considerate and constructive debate with his constant braying and guffawing during FMQs while invariably thumping his desk like a spoiled child in the midst of a temper tantrum (hardly a good example for our kids). It is difficult to imagine that this appointment represents the intellectual depth of the Tory Party here but perhaps Douglas Ross has taken a leaf out of Boris Johnson’s survival book. By promoting to significant positions only those individuals who are even more cerebrally challenged than himself he will have few serious threats to his position as leader should his party continue to fail in Scotland.

An alternative view is that he and his party will no longer attempt to persuade the Scottish electorate of any merits of Tory ideology but instead, aided and abetted by his willing lieutenant, will focus entirely on wrecking devolution and bringing about the dissolution of the Scottish Parliament. Perhaps “Tory High Command” now sees democratic chaos as the only way to prevent the people of Scotland achieving self-determination.

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Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Cosy consensus

Murdo Fraser paraded his pro-free speech credentials, defending the right of republicans to protest at royal events (Scotsman, 21 September).

However, he is silent on the central free-speech issue of the day: the banning of vigils at abortion facilities. That's typical of the Scottish Conservatives, failing yet again to challenge the Holyrood consensus.

Richard Lucas, Scottish Family Party, Glasgow

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