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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Nurse Maule leaves Abertay University with a medical mystery

February 14 2013

A battered old suitcase which gives an insight into the life of a First World War nurse has been found at the back of a cupboard at Abertay University. Staff found the case, which belonged to a nurse called Margaret Maule, from Paisley, in the institution's psychology department. It was filled with memorabilia from the war. Among the papers and photos is an article Nurse Maule wrote for DC Thomson's People's Journal in 1940 and which is available to view in the 'downloads' section of this page. The university says how the luggage case came to be there is a "complete mystery" as there are no records linking the woman to Abertay. Staff are now appealing for the public's help in shedding more light on Ms Maule's life. To see more of the suitcase's contents click here. And see a special feature on this story in Friday’s Courier or try our new digital edition.

Readers' letters

August 4: Care standards at Ninewells second to none

August 4 2010

Today our correspondents discuss the standard of care at Ninewells Hospital, bureaucracy in the NHS, John J. Marshall's marshalling of facts and the quality of food at the Apex Hotel in Dundee. Care standards at Ninewells second to none Sir, Your front-page report (July 31) about Mr McLeay and his wife's experiences at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, must cause concern to those about to require the services of the hospital, especially if their visit can result in a life-changing situation. For this reason, I would like to present another side to the story. I underwent radiotherapy for throat cancer in 2008, which did not solve the problem. In June 2009 I was admitted to Ward 26 for surgery. The staff were at pains to explain what I was in for and I was offered support left, right and centre, support which I personally did not want. I knew I was coming out of theatre without a voice box and that was enough but, never having been hospitalised, that was my concern. Cancer I could handle but what felt to me like incarceration was something else. However, from the minute I left theatre to the time of discharge, I had never been so pampered and fussed over in my life and I won't see 70 again. From the night nurses who brought me tea when I couldn't sleep, to the young student who nagged me incessantly about nebulising, I knew I was being well looked after. As for aftercare and support, that could not be bettered. I have a voice (but cannot sing) thanks to a valve and a therapist. I can smell thanks to the same therapist and I am regularly checked out. To be more logical, does anyone out there know anyone who hasn't slipped up? Garry Stewart.Springbank,Clayholes,By Carnoustie. Free clinicians from paperwork Sir, Mr John Blair, a retired senior consultant at Perth Royal Infirmary, is spot on with his criticism of the over-managed National Health Service (July 30). My own family's experience (two consultants and a doctor) echoes that of Mr Blair, with growing frustration among doctors and nursing staff caused by the empire-building bureaucrats who have shanghaied the National Health Service. Form-filling and box-ticking have taken over from patient care as priorities, while highly trained doctors of long experience have to defer for permission to act to managers with no medical training. Social workers, for instance, have equal status with consultant psychiatrists in decisions whether to section a mental patient or not. If the social worker says no, the patient is released against the wishes of a psychiatrist of long experience. The only way to restore sanity to the NHS is to return to the old regime where doctors and nurses were in charge, with pen-pushers relegated to the secondary role of dealing with the paperwork. Doctors and nurses complain bitterly about the top-heavy management structure, the bureaucracy and the never-ending paper-chase. Why do their organisations not take matters in hand and confront our various governments with an ultimatum - return to a system run by medical staff with a greatly reduced bureaucracy performing a secondary role, or doctors and nurses will opt out of the health service? Next to patients, medical staff are the people who matter. Faced with their opposition, even our benighted leaders would have to give way and dismantle this house of cards. If not, the only part of that title with any meaning will soon be the word national. At the moment, it is an organisation increasingly serving the interests of a bloated and blinkered bureaucracy. Paper has replaced patients at the top of their priority list. Put patients back at the top, with doctors and nurses free to make decisions about their treatment, untrammeled by endless form filling. George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth. A voice of reason Sir, I am sure that your columnist John J. Marshall would be the first to accept valid opinion or comment as regards his detailed article last Wednesday, but the content of the letter from James Christie (July 31) contained pure party-political bias as opposed to Mr Marshall's facts on the Megrahi case. If it was not for newspaper writers and articles of certain journalists of calibre, the public would be ill informed. Mr Christie did not have to look far for another example of the Scottish Government ignoring public opinion the letter by Ron Greer (also Saturday) on support for Calliachar windfarm. Harry Lawrie.35 Abbots Mill,Kirkcaldy. Casting pearls before swine Sir, One of the best meals (roasted lamb with colcannon) and one of the most memorable breakfasts (lightly smoked Finnan haddock, fresh rocket and a perfect poached egg) I've ever had is when I had occasion to stay in the Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee. So I was surprised when I recently read an extremely bad review of the hotel in a tabloid. I'm not in the habit of jumping to the defence of large hotel organisations let's face it, they're big enough to look after themselves but I have to say that review was ridiculously unfair. However the management shouldn't get too worried nor should the citizens jump into the Tay yet. The piece was based on the buffet breakfast and written by a sports "pundit". Further research reveals that the reviewer's favourite meal appears to be over-spiced curries and hand-cut chips. He also complains of "the language problem" in the hotel, although it's not made entirely clear who was having the problem. Brian McHugh.52 Kirkwell Road,Cathcart,Glasgow.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus vets disgusted after cars are targeted by thieves

January 4 2016

Staff at an Angus vets practice were left “angry” after their cars were broken into and items stolen. The vehicles belonging to two employees at Wallace Vets in Carnoustie were targeted on Thursday. Both of their vehicles had their windows smashed and cash, as well as an iPod, were among the items taken. Management at the practice are now planning to install CCTV in a bid to deter future incidents. Wallace Vets manager Graham Duff said: “We’ve had two cars broken into while parked in our car park, both belonged to staff members. “One of them was a vet who was on duty at the time and another was a nursing assistant. “The vet had unfortunately left one of her bags in the car. “It had a purse in it and she discovered that £30 had been taken out. “The purse was still there, and thankfully all her bank cards were left too. “It looks like the nursing assistant’s car was broken into on the same night, but we can’t be sure. “She left her car in the car park on Hogmanay as she was going away for a few days and only found out about the break in on Saturday. “So her car has been sitting for a while with its window smashed. “Both women were very angry that someone would do something like this.” Mr Duff added that no one had expected such an incident to happen, as the area was normally quiet and considered safe. He said: “We were a bit complacent. “We’re going to get CCTV fitted and we’re going to be a lot more vigilant. When contacted by The Courier, a police spokesman said they had no record of the incidents.


‘It was awful to see’ NHS Fife investigating more disturbing claims about Victoria Hospital

August 31 2012

An elderly deaf and dumb woman used sign language to tell another patient that she wanted to die because she was so ashamed at the indignity of being unable to make it to the toilet in time during her stay in hospital, it has been claimed. ''One deaf and dumb woman in her late 70s/early 80s said 'I want to go now'. She'd soiled the floor and was so embarrassed she wanted to die and be with her late husband. ''I'm partially deaf and know sign language so was able to communicate with her. But it was an awful thing to see and completely undignified.'' Caroline Inwood, director of nursing for the operational division, said: ''Ward 53 is a well-staffed area and has one of the lowest sickness rates in the whole hospital. Following the move of Ward 19 from Queen Margaret Hospital to Ward 53 there has in fact been an increase in the number of staff. ''The buzzer system in the new building is a 'stacking system' whereby each time a buzzer is activated it is displayed on a panel at the nurse's station and as each buzzer is answered it is cancelled out. The buzzer rings in a uniform manner no matter how many buzzers are activated and this can give the impression that a single buzzer has been activated and not answered. If the patient had inquired at the time this would have been explained to her. ''Patients who are immobile are given their buzzer and asked to buzz when they require assistance and are regularly helped with their personal hygiene. The nurses within Ward 53 are experienced in caring for patients with these problems. ''NHS Fife would refute claims made around personal hygiene needs. Patients with stomas and/or other bowel-related conditions can experience difficulties in managing them. New stomas can be unpredictable and occasionally accidents do happen. No concerns from other patients were brought to the attention of staff. ''With regard to linen becoming soiled we would expect staff to change the linen immediately. Patients are also advised that if they use urinals or bed pans that they inform nursing staff of this so they can be collected timeously. The toilets are checked on a regular basis.'' Jim Leiper, director of estates, facilities and capital services, confirmed laundry for all hospitals in Fife is now done in-house. He said: ''All our linen is washed at temperatures in excess of and for longer than recommended in the national guidance for the laundry of used and infected linen. As part of the process, packers in the laundry examine each article for stains and damage. Articles which are not fit for purpose are rejected. ''A random inspection undertaken in light of the comments raised has shown there to be no issues with stained linen and we are confident that there are no systematic problems. On occasion, it is possible for a small hole in linen or small stain to be missed following laundry. Anything not fit for purpose would be rejected by ward staff." He added: ''We have had no reports of thefts in relation to pillows or linen. There is a continual process of keeping linen and pillow stocks up-to-date and we have sufficient stock within the system.'' The widow sought the help of a nurse to get to the toilet by pressing the buzzer next to her bed. However, after around 20 minutes with no nurse apparently responding, the lady urinated and defecated on the bed and floor and was so upset she signed to a fellow patient with hearing difficulties that she had ''had enough'' of life and wanted to ''join'' her husband who died last year. The heart-rending story emerged this week as another patient told The Courier of her alleged experiences of bloodied and soiled hospital sheets, dried blood on curtains and a stretched nursing staff at ''breaking point'' at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. NHS Fife said it was concerned to hear of the issues that have been raised. However, it did ''not believe this to be an accurate reflection'' of life on the wards. Lesley-Anne Cronin (52), who recently moved from Edinburgh to Burntisland, contacted The Courier after reading on Tuesday about two patients including a man with terminal cancer who were allegedly left shivering in their hospital beds after nurses refused to give them extra blankets. Ms Cronin, who works as an agricultural census officer with the Scottish Government, said she ''had her eyes opened'' when she spent 10 days in and out of the Victoria Hospital in recent weeks, including ward 23, to investigate a gastric problem.See Saturday's Courier for an exclusive interview with the chief executive of NHS Fife as he responds to the claimsShe said: ''There was one day the nurse was putting fresh sheets on my bed when I noticed they were still soiled with blood and what looked like diarrhoea. When I said to the nurse, she didn't respond. ''When I was being taken to get an X-ray I was told to take my pillow in case it got stolen in my absence. I was really surprised at this. ''The other thing was all these used soiled papier-mache urine samplers strewn about the toilets. There must have been 20 of them. It was far from hygienic. ''But the worst thing was that if you pressed the buzzer to get help it was normally a 20-minute wait. I was in the gastrology ward, Ward 53, and there were older people pressing the buzzers but nobody came and some had no choice but to do the toilet in their bed or on the floor. There was a real dignity issue. It was awful to see." Continued...

UK & World

£1.4bn spent on temporary nursing staff last year due to shortages – report

May 14 2018

NHS trusts in England spent more than £1.4 billion last year on temporary nursing staff due to shortages, a study has found.The bill was enough to pay the salaries of an estimated 66,000 newly qualified nurses, and more than fill the 38,000 existing vacancies in nursing jobs, a report by The Open University claims.Temporary agency and bank nurses were brought in to plug the gaps in staffing for a total of 79 million hours last year – and were paid 61% above the hourly rate of a newly qualified nurse.Estimates suggest if current vacancies were filled permanently, the NHS could save as much as £560 million a year.The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act – with only 146 of the 241 hospital trusts providing data, meaning the total bill spent on temporary nurses could be much higher. Jan Draper, professor of nursing at The Open University, said relying on temporary nurses was a “sticking a plaster over the problem” and cost “considerably more” than filling vacancies permanently.She said: “We know that poor retention and low recruitment results in inefficiencies and ultimately puts patient care at risk, so it’s vital that we look to a more strategic and sustainable approach.“Taking advantage of recently introduced degree apprenticeships that offer flexible work-based learning is one solution, making use of funding already ring-fenced to pay for training while opening up new routes into the profession.”Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the figures exposed the “utter false economy in current NHS staffing”.She added: “Short-sightedness in recent years has left tens of thousands of unfilled nurse jobs, to the severe detriment of patient care.“Workforce planning has been ineffective and dictated by the state of finances, not the needs of patients.“It is further proof that cost-cutting plans saved no money at all and, instead, increased agency costs, recruitment fees and the sickness absence bill through rising stress.“Ministers should look at these figures and demonstrate they have the political will to fix the shortages.”The news comes after a survey revealed most people believe there are not enough NHS nurses to keep patients safe.Nearly three quarters (74%) of UK adults believe there are too few to provide adequate care, according to the poll by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Nursing graduate Sasha Munns’ delight at securing job at care home

February 5 2011

Dundee nurse graduate Sasha Munnslet down by a Scottish Government 'job guarantee' scheme which in five months has not found her a jobhas finally found work, thanks to The Courier. The delighted 21-year-old will be starting at Bughties Nursing Home in Broughty Ferry on Saturday, February 12, and said, as she left the interview, "I'm over the moon. "I'm delighted to get this chance and can't wait to start. I thank Bughties and The Courier for making this happen." Earlier we revealed that Sasha graduated in nursing from Dundee University in September and registered with the government's One Year Job Guarantee Scheme. The initiative is meant to find graduate nurses a year's work anywhere in Scotland and was intended to operate similarly to the probationer scheme for new teachers. The nursing scheme has been unable to find Sasha any work, however, and left her in limbo. She applied for several advertised nursing posts but was unsuccessful as she did not have the experience the job guarantee scheme would have given her. Her frustrated mother Ann bemoaned that her daughter, who always wanted to be a nurse, was trapped in a Catch 22 situation. She could not start her career because she could not get experience and the only way she could get experience was by getting a nursing job. Sasha did find employment in a call centre but that has now ended and she is registered as unemployed. Her plight has provoked outrage in the Scottish Parliament with opposition politicians blasting "the scandalous waste of talent" and branding the scheme "a sham," with it costing £45,000 to £51,000 to train a student nurse to degree level. MSPs have called for the government to investigate the scheme to see why it was not working.'Interviewed well'Our article was also read by Jennifer Chalmers, administrator at Bughties, who immediately called our office. We put her in touch with Sasha who went for an interview yesterday and emerged thrilled to be starting her nursing career. Ms Chalmers said, "We were thinking about our staffing because we have a vacancy and then I read about poor Sasha in The Courier. She came along this afternoon and interviewed very well. "She was well prepared and had her registration and disclosure certificates with her. Everything was positive and we are delighted to offer her a job which she has accepted. We have a shift rota here which means she'll start next Saturday although she'll come for a day's orientation next week." Ms Chalmers said Sasha actually did a work placement at Bughties as part of her course and remembered some of the staff and residents. Ms Chalmers said, "Our nurses have plenty of contact with patients and it is not like what you often see in hospitals which is nurses sitting at computer screens or writing reports. We have employed four graduate nurses in the past two years and they have been fine. Three are still with us and one has got a promoted post-she is our deputy matron." Sasha is still on file at the job guarantee scheme but is not holding her breath waiting for officials to call. "I'll let the future take care of itself," she said. "I'm just very happy to get a job." A Scottish Government spokesman said on Thursday that all newly qualified nurses and midwives registered with the scheme will be offered a post with NHS Scotland in the next few months.