Sir, – As a nurse of almost 30 years. I believe that everyone deserves to have access to safe, high-quality health and social care services.
However, Scotland does not have the nursing staff it needs to enable them to provide that care for everyone in a safe way.
Across the Tayside area, I see and hear concerns from members on a daily basis about the pressures that nursing teams are under and the impact that staff shortages can have on their services.
NHS Scotland recently published statistics that show that within NHS Tayside, 5.1% nursing and midwifery posts are vacant.
It is time for a change. We, and our loved ones, deserve safe, high-quality care.
The Royal College of Nursing is calling for more, for nursing teams and their patients and I would encourage everyone – patients, nurses, heath care assistants and all NHS Tayside staff – to sign up and show their support at www.rcn.org.uk/askformore.
Over the coming months the Scottish Parliament will be considering the Health and Care (Staffing) Scotland Bill.
This bill is an opportunity to secure change and enshrine safe staffing within the law.
The right legislation can help to ensure the right staff, in the right place, at the right time.
This is what our patients deserve and should have the right to expect.
That’s why I’m asking your readers to make their voices heard, so their expectations are met in reality.
Please join me in asking for more, to empower us to deliver better and safer care for all.
RCN Scotland board member (Tayside Area),
Brexit will hit health hard
Sir, – I recently attended an event, hosted by the Dundee and Angus Independence Group, where Philippa Whitford MP talked about poverty, health and the effects of Brexit on our Scottish health service.
Philippa Whitford is not only the SNP MP for Central Ayrshire and the Shadow SNP spokesperson (health and social care), she is also an eminent breast surgeon and humanitarian who has worked with women suffering from breast cancer in Palestine. She knows what she is talking about and what she had to say about how Brexit will affect our Health service made for disturbing listening.
For example, leaving the EU will adversely affect patients’ access to medicines and clinical trials. There will be less collaboration in medical research. The EU operates systems for the surveillance and early warning of communicable diseases, managed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which allows rapid sharing of information and technical expertise in response to potential pandemics, communicable diseases and other cross-border health threats.
But the way in which I suspect everyone will notice the devastating effects of Brexit is in the matter of staffing.
Philippa Whitford told us there has been a 90% drop in nursing staff applying to come to the UK from Europe. It has been reported that health chiefs in the Western Isles are having to draw up contingency plans to deal with a mass exodus of consultants from the area, who may have to leave because they are Polish.
In fact around one in 20 of our doctors come from outside the UK.
If these medical professionals have to leave Scotland because of a Brexit we did not vote for, the effects on our health service will be devastating.
The prospect of life in post-Brexit Scotland is alarming and the nightmare vision of what our health service will become because of it only makes this message more urgent.
We are shackled to a neighbouring country which seems determined to hurl itself over a cliff.
V&A needs the people on side
Sir, – Along with countless others I attempted a number of times to enter the ballot for the V&A Dundee’s 3D festival in Slessor Gardens.
And like so many, my repeated attempts resulted in failure to apply online.
Instead I tried another email on the museum’s website, where I explained my predicament.
My gripe is not that I did not get tickets. What irks is the absolute failure to get a reply to my three emails. Not even so much as a “thank you for your interest”.
Like most people I view the V&A as a fabulous inclusion to our local culture.
I just hope the team there remember that people will hold the key to its success and that they don’t throw too many babies out with the bath water.
Lamb row harming Angus
Sir, – The recent controversy about the William Lamb Studio in Montrose and its stewardship by ANGUSalive has left me wondering if the organisation should be renamed ANGUSnae-affy-weel.
Particularly worrying is ANGUSalive’s assertion that the Lamb Studio does not fit in with its “vision”. The heritage of a town evolves over centuries and is not the creation of a contemporary committee.
Clearly, ANGUSalive is financially troubled, but justifying cutbacks at the Lamb Studio by denigrating the artist is poor PR.
What will be the next step? Removing the statues by Lamb which grace Montrose and replacing them with statues of the directors of ANGUSalive?
Intentions not so honourable
Sir, – To watch or listen to Jacob Rees-Mogg is like being taken back 300 years. So much so he has been given the moniker of the honourable member for the 19th Century.
He is reminiscent of a member of the East India company. His personal wealth is somewhere between £100 and £150 million and he has a 15%share in Somerset Capital Management (SCM). This company invests in emerging markets and means Rees-Mogg will get a massive windfall from Brexit. SCM recently set-up an office in Dublin to avoid any of the chaos from Brexit impeding its business.
Rees-Mogg a member of the Cornerstone group in the Tory party. Their motto is Faith, Flag and Family, and he flaunts his patriotic Christianity, which includes opposition to abortion and homosexuality.
His comments that Scotland can only have another independence referendum in 20 years are entirely in line with his colonial mindset. He sees Scotland not as a sovereign nation but as an outpost needing to be “civilised” by the “superior” Anglo-Saxons.
In reality Jacob Rees-Mogg is an obscure Tory MP. In eight years in parliament he has not been given so much as a junior role in government. His views on Scotland though are widely held within the Tory party.
Holyrood better on balance
Sir, – Your correspondent Clark Cross raised some interesting points in regard to the costs involved in having so many MSPs and running a big building in Edinburgh. I’m particularly taken with his idea of reducing MSPs to 65, being 10% of the 650 MPs at Westminster.
Let’s do that immediately. That would see the SNP with six MSPs, Conservatives with three, Labour with two, and the disappearance of the Greens and the Lib-Dems. With a majority now in place, the SNP could continue a progressive programme to complement free prescriptions, free university education, bus passes, and free personal care.
As to Clark’s idea of a referendum to close Holyrood he shouldn’t worry. Such a costly exercise is unnecessary as with the Tories’ power grab from Scotland at Brexit they’ll do it for free.
But of course we could take another position. Let’s keep Holyrood, let’s keep a full complement of Scottish MSPs and let’s have them work for Scotland, independent and free from the Brexit disaster that is unfolding under the increasingly rudderless UK Government.