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READERS’ LETTERS: Scottish care homes ‘an accident waiting to happen’

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Sir, – I was interested to read your article regarding care homes and The Care Inspectorate (Watchdog ‘posted missing’ in crisis, Courier, May 20).

Whilst agreeing with Jackie Baillie’s point of view, she was, like myself, involved in local government and will agree that the situation in Scottish care homes was, for many reasons, “an accident waiting to happen”.

If the Scottish Government intend to take over underperforming care homes I welcome the initiative.

And although it may be financially prohibitive to head in this direction and control care homes, it should be considered when the inevitable public inquiry takes place.

Over my years in local government I am sure that Dundee was not alone when I say that social work budgets could not be met, and we experienced huge deficits on a regular basis.

It was not the fault of the department or the convener – they provided the best care possible whilst experiencing severe financial constraints and at the same time supporting care homes.

I may be inviting criticism and indeed resentment when I say that in these difficult years, we activated a review to examine all care homes in the city, both council and private, and in my view shared by others, with the exception of Wellburn Home and council-led establishments, the private homes were not fit for purpose and subsequent closures bore this out.

Why was this?

The private homes’ staff pay, working conditions, care for the residents were inferior to the council.

That was then but there is something drastically wrong with the present system.

It needs to be looked at and sorted, a merging of the NHS and care homes would give continuity and safety for the elderly.

John Ross Letford.

Hindmarsh Ave,



Money is not a gift to Scotland

Sir, – Denis Munro’s letter suggests the Westminster government sends billions to Scotland as if it was a gift.

People forget that nearly all of Scottish taxes go to London, so it is not a gift.

I would also point out that most of the money to save the population from this crisis will be borrowed by Westminster.

So to try to make a point that Scots are somehow being saved by the generosity of a caring responsible Conservative government is just nonsense.

I would think if Scotland had been independent then it too would pay for this crisis in the same manner as many other small countries, many of whom have less natural resources and in many cases are dealing with this crisis much better than Westminster, bearing in mind the UK has the second highest fatality rate in the world.

Bryan Auchterlonie.

Bluebell Cottage,


Independent of mind is fine

Sir, – In the latest episode of her relentless quest to besmirch the first minister and her government Jenny Hjul (Old politics after lockdown, Courier, May 20) accuses Nicola Sturgeon of politicising the Covid situation to manufacture a split with Westminster and to stave off an alleged internal dispute within her party.

This allegation is a matter of personal opinion, something that thankfully all citizens including Ms Hjul are entitled to.

Ironically however she apparently fails to recognise that her diatribe is also an attempt to politicise the situation.

And sadly she also fails to credit readers with the intelligence to realise that any politicisation would benefit the unionist cause as much as that of the nationalists.

She goes on to attack without reason Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director for Scotland, by stating he gratuitously makes out special cases for Scotland.

The Oxford Dictionary defines gratuitously as meaning “free of charge” which I doubt is the case or “without good reason or unjustifiably” which surely merits an apology to Professor Leitch.

Ms Hjul’s continual sniping does nothing to encourage the spirit of working together we should be promoting at this time.

But as an example of this I will concede that I agree with her questioning of the cancellation of work on dualling the A9 where workers could easily observe social distancing, and the anomalous closure of garden centres when chain DIY stores are allowed to open.

Just an example, Ms Hjul, that not all nationalists unswervingly agree with all Holyrood decisions and that personal opinions are alive and well in Scotland.

John W Milne.

Rose Cottage,




Accuracy fear with test results

Sir, – Regarding mobile testing stations, which are manned by the army with no medical experience.

Patients are given a bag to complete the test by themselves in their car.

But they cannot get an accurate test by themselves in their car with their mirror. as they won’t be able to go far enough down the throat or far enough up the nose.

Even when a test is done by a health practitioner tests have been shown to produce false negatives in around 30% of cases.

Why are people doing their own tests with already such a high percentage of false negatives.

What is the point of saying there are testing stations when you have to do it? This virus lies way back in the throat and extremely high up in the nose.

No one is going to be able to do this accurately themselves.

Jane Carmichael.


Old Crieff Road,




Breathing space in Brexit debate

Sir, – The UK’s ability to extend the period for negotiating a comprehensive future relationship with the European Union runs out in six weeks.

Barring a breakthrough, this will mean this country will be leaving the EU without any trading deal with the world’s biggest economic bloc.

The European Union supplies 80% of our food imports and no deal further damages an already crippled economy.

If we are forced back on a US deal on damaging terms, Scotland’s agriculture industry could disappear overnight, our seafood industry perish, our universities go to the wall and the NHS begin to be sliced up into neat pieces for US companies to digest.

This will hit the United Kingdom at exactly the same time as we are struggling to recover from Covid-19, which is forecast to potentially lead to a 35% decline in UK economic output.

There is no need for this damaging double whammy.

Recent polling points to the fact that 77% of British people – 83% of those in Scotland – want a breathing space.

They want the UK to ask for an extension to the transition period, but the UK Government continues to rush towards the cliff edge.

At the very least we deserve this folly to be debated in Parliament.

A public debate is vital, ensuring that the Opposition can challenge this situation, exposing it for what it is and the damage it will inevitably lead to.

Mark Lazarowicz.


The European Movement in Scotland.