Sir, It seems apparent that, whoever wins power in the May 2015 general election and in the 2016 Scottish election, we will be faced with a further period of austerity and a substantial reduction in public services.
If so, I would like to think that the focus from government at both levels will be on maintaining, and perhaps sometimes developing, public services through remodelling and the merging of back- up support services.
The Scottish Government has created both the police and the fire service at national level.Will they now go further and remodel police, fire and ambulance as a national emergency service? At the very least is there not scope for further service sharing at local level, for example in premises, IT, finance and human resources?
Will they also go further by remodelling both the health service and local authorities? Do we need all the health boards and national health agencies? Do we need 32 local authorities which range so vastly in terms of population?
Do we not need significant rationalisation so that streamlined/merged back-up services support frontline delivery?
Is it time to look again at city regions or other models?
Finally, I would hope that at both UK and Scottish level governments will also address their own administration and support services to ensure that they are lean and mean when times are difficult. Perhaps they could start by reducing the number of special advisers and consultants that they employ!
Hugh Macrae. 456 Perth Road, Dundee.
Something to be proud of?
Sir, In reply to Councillor Crooks’ statement (December 15) about the new sea wall at Kirkcaldy esplanade: “Now it looks like something to be proud of.”
I would say the finish is very poor. It now looks like a roadway with concrete crash barriers. We used to have a red brick surface which brightened up the walkway, now we have a poorly laid undulating tarmacadam surface with bumps, hollows and pieces of excess tar stuck to the surface.
The finish round the new seats far too low to see anything from and edges of the roadway looks unfinished. Why was a sand carpet surface not specified like a pavement with coloured chippings? It would also be much easier for wheelchair users and would stay much cleaner thanks to its smoother surface.
The wall has quite a few chips and repairs with grinder marks on the finished surface which looks like graffiti. On a couple of sections you can see right through to the water.
On the seaward side the rock armour was shown level in the original pictures with a slope to the sand, it looks as if it had just been dumped without much thought given to placement. There are large voids between the rocks making ideal spaces for the sea to rush in and fill up with flotsam and jetsam.
After speaking to a few people who were walking along, their impressions were that it was very bland and looked unfinished. If all this is something to be proud of then I must have a completelydifferent set of values.
William Simpson. 31 Hendry Crescent, Kirkcaldy.
A welcome outcome, but…
Sir, I was extremely pleased to read about the outcome of Sir Thayne Forbes’ inquiry into the Iraq events (December 18). If our troops were properly protected by our government after deployment into dangerous places these types of inquiry should never be necessary.
The Al Amara battle,eloquently described by a participant sniper sergeant from the Princess of Wales RoyalRegiment (Rifles) in his book,written soon after the fight, had every thing including even the CO and some soldiers from the Argylls, in the early stages. Jocks can smell trouble and a fight from miles away.
Hundreds of al Mahdi fanatics launching repeated attacks over several days against barely 30 or so British troops ensconced in, and on the roof of, a two-storey building. Bitter and vicious fighting, a brave reinforcement operation, the winning of aVC by a young corporal from Grenada and, of course, at the end, a weeping company quartermaster who finds most of “his” kit has been written off by enemy action.
Some things never change.
Perhaps Sir Thayne could look into the case of a certain Royal Marine sergeant.
AT Geddie. 68 Carleton Avenue, Glenrothes.
Clear distinction is needed
Sir, Arguably, almost everyone who works in a hospital plays some role in ensuring the welfare of patients. Consultants, doctors, midwives, nurses, ancillary staff are all necessary to get the health services we all need. Some staff are very closely involved with patients, others play a more secondary role but all with the aim of getting us in, and hopefully out, of hospital.
All this lies right at the heart of an important question. Should Roman Catholic midwives have the right to object, on grounds of conscience, to the supervision and support of staff directly involved in vmedical termination of pregnancy procedures (Courier, December 18)?
Those who manage hospitals have to make a cleardistinction between those who are directly involved in an operation and those who play a supportive role for example devising rotas, ensuring absence cover and so on.
If the conscience clause in the 1967 Abortion Act was too widely interpreted, it might become impossible for a hospital to operate effectively at all.
For that reason we should welcome the Supreme Court’s judgement. The right to freedom of conscience always has to be balanced against the overall aims of an organisation in this case providing an efficient and humane health service.
Bob Taylor. 24 Shiel Court, Glenrothes.