READERS’ LETTERS: Time to stop treating PRI as a poor relation

© DC ThomsonNHS Tayside must make more use of hospitals like PRI, says a correspondent.
NHS Tayside must make more use of hospitals like PRI, says a correspondent.

Sir, – I read with interest the article on winter deaths (“Winter death increase ‘fuelled by cutting of the public purse to the bone’”, Courier, October 17).

The massive increase last winter in deaths of 13% in Perth and Kinross contrasts badly with the 8% rise in Fife, the 6% rise in Angus and the 3% rise in Dundee.

In my mind this is not solely due to the cutbacks in the NHS but the policy in NHS Tayside to give preference to Ninewells over PRI.

Perth and Kinross has a much larger population than Dundee and the patients have to travel further and often rely on public transport which can unfortunately mean changes from bus to bus.

NHS Tayside should take a warning from these latest figures.

The so called health lottery is bad enough but the steady rise in winter deaths all over its area shows a worrying trend.

The increase in winter deaths throughout Scotland has also followed this trend with an increase of 10%.

So in comparative terms NHS Tayside is actually doing well in the rest of its area with the increases of 3%, 6% and 8% being lower than the Scottish average.

But in Perth and Kinross the increase in winter deaths is unacceptable.

Perhaps the Perth and Kinross councillors on the joint integrated board should step up their efforts to get NHS Tayside to reverse their trend of bringing everything into Dundee and giving more attention to increasing their cover in the more rural areas it is meant to serve equally well.

Elspeth Maclachlan.

122 Dunsinane Drive,



V&A an amazing addition to city

Sir, – I am a native of Dundee who currently lives in New York.

I have also lived in London and Chicago and have visited museums in these cities many times.

It was my distinct pleasure to visit the new V&A museum in Dundee a few weeks ago.

I cannot express how impressed I was with both the inside and the outside of the new museum.

My husband and daughter – both Americans with only a passing knowledge of Dundee – also felt the same way.

We enjoyed the free exhibits.

We had a delicious lunch at the restaurant which we reserved that day and the views of the Tay and Dundee were magnificent.

The pictures I took, especially in conjunction with the Discovery, are quite amazing.

I was so proud of my native city.

I am distressed when I read petty criticisms of the museum in your paper.

Please Dundonians, have a broader vision and support the lovely new addition to the Dundee waterfront.

Sheelagh Kaplan.

Yorktown Heights,

New York.


Comparisons are not genuine

Sir, – It was with complete disbelief that I read the description by the Unesco representative from South Africa of the “utterly astounding transformation” in Dundee since his previous visit (“Visitors from Unesco cities praise Dundee”, Courier, October 17).

As this took place some 30 years ago as, I suggest, a somewhat naive 13-year-old member of a school rugby tour, it is almost impossible for him to make a meaningful comparison of Dundee then and now.

In addition, it is my opinion, for what it is worth, the Canadian representative has no grounds for her statement regarding the amount of local support for the changes Dundee has undergone for some considerable time, despite the repeated assertions by our council leader.

Ian Kennedy.

1 Gray Den,



Interpretation is open to question

Sir, – Define art.

Mr Imrie, who painted a dog with a balloon on a wall which doesn’t belong to him, disagrees with Perth and Kinross Council for removing “artwork” from the walls (“Pensioner defies authorities with new street painting”, Courier, October 15).

He says: “They’re not giving the people of Perth what they want”.

Well, Perth and Kinross Council are giving this person of Perth what she wants, which is not to see graffiti plastered all over Perth.

Does Mr Imrie think he has the right to paint whatever he wants, wherever he wants?

If he gives his address, we can all go round to his and create our own masterpiece on his walls.

Lis Robertson.

Canal Street,



Issue must not be parked

Sir, – I agree that there are parking problems in Blairgowrie (“Call for action to solve problem of inadequate parking in Blairgowrie”, Courier, October 17).

However I suggest, in addition, that Perth and Kinross Council is indifferent to the needs of visitors to the riverside walk.

That parking area for the walk and for the children’s playground is filled with cars every week-day, as are the approaches to, and including, Ashgrove Road.

This must, I suggest, amount to obstruction, not only by the owners of those vehicles, but vicariously, by Castle Water which employs them.

In addition, I query the assertions that Castle Water has provided jobs for many Blairgowrie residents as demonstrated by the number of vehicles entering the town and occupying parking spaces each working day.

JPK Garthwaite.

Ashgrove Road,



Scots Tories lack influence

Sir, – I see both British Conservatives in Scotland David Mundell and Ruth Davidson will resign over a different deal for Northern Ireland.

All I can say is I dare you.

However, we all know they won’t as they have absolutely no influence within the British Conservative Party.

What will happen is Mrs May will pat them on the head and say “there, there – now you have served your purpose you can get back in the box”.

Bryan Auchterlonie.

Bluebell Cottage,



University has strong Fife links

Sir, – James Robertson’s criticisms of St Andrews University (Letters, October 17) are founded in myth, and very old myth at that.

Far from “shrinking from our regional responsibilities” we are in actual fact reaching out to and working closely with schools and businesses across Fife, and have been doing so very successfully for years.

Our dedicated staff and students are regularly in primary and secondary schools across the kingdom mentoring and encouraging future students.

Just this week it was reported that the university and Fife schools are to pioneer a new multi-media curriculum about climate change and its effects on population movement.

We have invested £25 million in our new Eden Campus at Guardbridge in an effort to bring jobs and prosperity back to a part of Fife hit hard by the loss of Curtis Fife Papers a decade ago.

Meanwhile, a recent independent report by Biggar Economics found that we contribute £298.3 million to the Fife economy every year and support 4,830 jobs in the kingdom.

That’s over 2,000 more people than we directly employ.

Our new strategic plan includes a pledge to support and work with local business first, not just in day-to-day trade but in partnerships to help translate our research to products and innovations for the wider public good.

Our record on attracting students from deprived areas to St Andrews is the most rapidly improved in Scotland.

Last year, 49% of our intake of Scottish students came from deprived areas, had a background in care, a low progression school or had been in receipt of free school meals.

That’s a fantastic endorsement of the hard work of our widening access teams and the determination of our principal.

The final myth?

We are not affluent nor do we enjoy “substantial state funding”.

Only 16% of our income comes from the Scottish Government.

Like the vast majority of other institutions, we are having to make very significant economies this year.

Fife has been our home for 600 years and we are proud of that fact.

Mr Robertson would be very welcome to find out just how much we are committed to and rooted in a community full of potential.

Niall Scott.

Director of Communications,

College Gate,

St Andrews University.