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READERS’ LETTERS: Yet another facility lost to North Angus

Montrose Royal Infirmary.
Montrose Royal Infirmary.

Sir, – Although I was not surprised when I read the front page and inside story in The Courier (“Radical health shake-up scraps in-patient care” January 13) about the impending closure of Montrose Infirmary, I still felt both anger and disappointment that yet another patient care facility is being lost to North Angus.

The fact that opportunities were not taken up in the past to deal with what was obvious to anyone – that the building was no longer fit for purpose – makes it even more frustrating.

The lost chance to build a small unit beside the Health Centre would have meant that this situation would never have arisen.

While times and attitudes have changed towards older people, and the proposed new system of keeping elderly patients at home for as long as possible has a lot to commend it, there is still a place for a small local unit which makes visiting for patients and their friends and relatives much easier.

If Stracathro’s redundant Mulberry Unit is to be used to look after those patients unable to go home from either Ninewells or Stracathro itself, or who are referred by their doctor, at least, I suppose, that it is something.

The bus service leaves a lot to be desired, however. Since not everyone has access to a car, it will mean a long journey for some visitors, making the chance of some patients having fewer visitors more likely.

We have lost so much in the way of healthcare provision over the past few years in this part of Angus, despite the protests of MSPs, MPs and members of the public.

One begins to believe that those in charge think no one lives beyond Arbroath – or if they do, they are never ill and will remain young forever!

Joan McLaren, 25 Redfield Crescent, Montrose.


A Brexit analysis vacuum

Sir, – Interesting that we have had analysis in relation to the cost of Brexit from both the SNP Scottish Government and the Mayor of London, yet none from the Westminster Government, or even a reasonable argument querying these reports.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commissioned an analysis on a hard Brexit and the results claimed 87,000 jobs could go in London alone – an alarming statistic considering the average salary in London is £48,023. This means a total of £4.2 billion per annum in lost earnings that will not go into the London economy – or the UK economy, for that matter.

If we look at the report commissioned by the SNP Scottish Government, although this is formatted in a different way, the figures are noteworthy. With a softer Brexit starting at £1,610 per person in Scotland – on a scale to £2,300 per person for a hard Brexit – this is truly alarming for the Scottish economy and our local economy will no doubt suffer as well.

I am so disappointed that no counter-analysis has been forthcoming from the UK Government, and David Davis confirmed this when he was brought in front of the Exiting the European Union Committee.

The only positive claims for Brexit have been the change of colour of our passports and the very ambitious rhetoric, and completely undeliverable rhetoric, on the side of the Brexit bus. One could argue that the farming community would benefit, as goods from Europe may be uneconomical to import into the UK.

The flip side is there is no guarantee of how much subsidy capacity is in the UK or Scottish Government budgets to replace the CAP, which most farmers are reliant on. In addition, there is the prospect of diminishing availability of Eastern European labour which our farming industry is reliant on.

Scotland is in a position where we are being forced to exit the EU though our people didn’t vote for Brexit.

The cost of £1,610 to £2,300 per person is in excess of the £1,400 per person the UK treasury claimed Scottish independence would cost. The question this raises is: are we really that better together?

This is something the Scottish electorate needs to take on board when the next referendum comes along.

Cllr Henry Anderson, 4 Muirmont Crescent, Bridge of Earn.


Ms Sturgeon’s Brexit position

Sir, – Nicola Sturgeon confidently and boldly forecasts dire economic warnings on the outcome of Brexit affecting Scotland badly, as though she is possessed of infallible insight.

She is becoming more like the economists who were described by Laurence J Peter as experts “who will know tomorrow why the things they predicted yesterday didn’t happen today”.

Ms Sturgeon has come to a conclusion before having any evidence, as she has absolutely no idea of what the final Brexit deal might be.

The failure of her predecessor, Alex Salmond, to predict the catastrophic fall in oil prices should be a cautionary example of how easy it is to get things spectacularly and dangerously wrong when there are so many imponderables.

There are no conceivable circumstances where Ms Sturgeon would not argue that independence is best for Scotland.

A good Brexit outcome, from her point of view, would indicate that Scotland’s withdrawal from the UK (our most important trading partner by far) is also a good bet, and a bad Brexit deal would demonstrate the necessity for independence.

It is obvious that a successful Brexit would terminate the SNP’s dream of independence and regrettably it appears that Ms Sturgeon will do everything in her power to scupper a good deal.

Introducing chaos and confusion suits her agenda but, sadly and paradoxically, it will damage Scotland.

Iain G Richmond, Guildy House, Monikie.


Why not boxes at the end of life?

Sir, – I have a suggestion which I hope proves popular with both the public and politicians.

Could the Government supply free boxes at the end of life, similar to the Baby Box scheme?

It would be a financial benefit to less well-off families at a stressful time, and a degradable box would be good for the environment.

This proposal might even get a few more votes at election time.

Robert McKinnon, 36 Soutar Crescent, Perth.


The real value of our GPS

Sir, – I always find it instructive to read readers’ letters concerning general practitioners.

Once you wade through the waffle about triaging, delegation to nursing staff, absenteeism due to pursuing other activities, non-availability 24/7, 52 weeks a year, the writers usually cut to the chase – general practitioners’ monstrous salaries.

It never ceases to amaze me that a society prepared to pay a footballer half a million pounds a week for kicking a ball about for a few hours, or a pop star for twanging a guitar, would begrudge a decent salary and working conditions to people who are saving lives.

The response might be that market forces determine the wages of footballers and pop stars, but consider the consequences if GPs decided to test the demand for their services by withdrawing their labour and demanding a million pounds a year?

We would have to pay them or hospitals would simply vanish under the tide of patients.

Sometimes it isn’t hard to understand how Jonathan Swift became a complete misanthrope.

To the doctors’ critics I would say, at your next consultation, look your GP straight in the eye and tell him what you think.

You might find he has forgotten to warm up his stethoscope!

George Dobbie, 51 Airlie Street, Alyth, Blairgowrie.