Sir, – I read with admiration the view expressed by Dr Kristien Hintjens in The Courier on February 6 (“Patients and doctors ‘not being listened to’,”) with her concern for the future of health services in Angus.
I have lived in Angus for 52 years, and in working and married life, have been closely involved with the provision of health and social care.
I have been grateful for the excellent support that my family and I have received from our local GP practice, and watched with dismay the erosion to their services by the burden of increasing bureaucracy.
Now, in my 82nd year, I think the arguments put forward by NHS Tayside regarding what they say people want for future health provision in this area is deliberately distorted.
Of course people will say they would prefer not to be admitted to hospital, but they may not understand the implications of admission to a teaching hospital some distance from home. For the frail elderly the need to be near family and friends may often be far more important than access to the latest medical techniques.
For those staying in their own homes and reliant on social care, this is proving to be minimal and rushed as cuts are made to that service, however good the caseworkers are.
The closure of the Mulberry mental health unit was a shocking decision, especially as there was a clear majority of the public in favour of keeping it open.
It is becoming the norm for unidentifiable civil servants to state that the views of the public, together with GPs and health workers, have been listened to,when it is obviously not the case, and financial considerations alone have decided the outcome.
As I become older and maybe less capable of making decisions, I dread leaving my wellbeing in the hands of anonymous bureaucrats.
16 Sharpe Place,
Solution to rail line woes
Sir, – As a user of the Highland Chieftan, Inverness to London service, I am not surprised by the failure of Stagecoach/Virgin to make the East Coast rail line profitable.
I remember Great North Eastern Railways, or GNER, failing similarly some years ago.
Then, the service was taken back into public ownership, and what a difference that made.
We had very efficient management and a much higher standard of on-board service.
When East Coast ceased and Stagecoach/Virgin took the franchise, we, again, slipped back into poor service and “penny pinching reductions” in the quality of the catering etc.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling should track down the former East Coast management, bring them back to manage the route, and with the new/refurbished rolling stock due this year, perhaps we can get the Highland Chieftan back to be the first-class service it used to be, many years ago.
Hamish H Carlton.
Get real over Brexit’s fallout
Sir, – Your issue of February 5 highlighted the plight of soft fruit growers obtaining enough labour to harvest their crop due to the constraints imposed by Brexit (“Gove promises ‘clarity’ on migrant workers scheme by next month”). In the letters page of the same issue we have Mr Derek Farmer impertinently telling the Scottish Parliament to “butt-out” of interfering in the Brexit negotiations (“SNP should stick to its day job”, Letters, February 5).
This indicates two things: firstly, the eponymous Mr Farmer probably does not grow soft fruit on his farm and secondly, he has absolutely no idea what the Scottish Parliament is for.
The Scottish Parliament, whatever its political hue, exists to protect the interests of Scotland.
As the soft fruit growers have shown we desperately need itinerant labour from the continent to gather the harvest.
There are other areas where we need migrants too, such as the NHS.
All these much-needed people will be banned from Scotland if the little Englander brigade with their blimpish “It’s all the fault of Johnny Foreigner, y’know!” attitude have their way.
Derek Farmer is obviously pro-Brexit.
He may start changing his mind when he finds he has to increase his employees’ wages because there are not enough young people in Scotland to work on his farm.
In the meantime I suggest he thinks a little more deeply about the effect Brexit will have on the Scottish economy.
194 High Street,
Co-partners deserve respect
Sir, – Derek Farmer (Letters, February 5) attempts to convince us that the UK is a sovereign nation. It is not, as it’s title makes clear.
We are the United Kingdom, a bipartite construct, not a single entity.
A future independent Scotland would merely be, in Mr Farmer’s words, “negotiating a new relationship with…” England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Once again, quoting the gentleman’s own words, “not before time”.
As a co-partner, we have every right to voice our concerns regarding Brexit, with the 62% Scottish remain vote being given due consideration.
Mr Farmer wants the SNP to “butt out” – in effect telling our First Minister and her Government to get on with the housework and leave our future in London’s hands.
If, as he wishes, the only truly representative government Scots have is to be sidelined, who will speak on our behalf?
Theresa May, who stated in parliament that Brexit, “isn’t a question about whether the people of Scotland should have a choice about their future”?
Or David Mundell, who makes no secret of the fact that his loyalties lie with Downing Street?
Or place our trust in David Davis perhaps?
His spiv-like ducking and diving exemplified by his claim, echoing events in post-2014 Scotland, that any promises made concerning the Irish border can simply be ignored by post-Brexit London.
Devolution came about, not as a result of London’s desire for change, but pressure from a Council of Europe increasingly uncomfortable with the democratic deficit at the heart of this dysfunctional union.
Former Tory Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, believes Brexit is a “historic opportunity to finish the job Margaret Thatcher started.”
Scots have every right to fear a London establishment unfettered by EU rules regarding our rights.
It is imperative, now more than ever, that the voices of our democratically-chosen representatives not only be heard, but respected.
335 King Street,
V&A not shining like a diamond
Sir, – I was looking down from upper Dundee as the sun was setting, hoping to watch the west side of the V&A building shine out.
The new hotel at the station certainly did, but not the V&A, which remained dull and grey.
One of the reasons I voted for the Kengo Kuma model at the outset of the architectural competition to choose a designer was that it seemed to shine out like new-cut diamonds perched on the waterfront.
I thought then how exciting it would look, approaching over the bridges.
Kengo Kuma said then the stones used for the structure would be made of a mix containing lime to give them the brightness shown on the model.
I hope it is not too late for some way of achieving that brightness we were promised at the start of the whole dream.
Dr Norma H. Smith.
7 Adelaide Terrace,