AMIDST almost daily media reports, political statements and point-scoring about our failing NHS in Scotland, I feel compelled to write, to express just how positive my own experience over the past nine months in particular – and the last 30 years in general – have been for me at the hands of NHS Scotland.
Having suffered kidney failure almost 30 years ago, it never ceases to amaze and reassure me that renal services in Scotland are second to none, with dialysis for all those that require it and the various surgical interventions which are often inevitable on long-term dialysis, which is an incurable illness.
However, over the last nine months I have experienced care at an entirely new level, firstly having received a kidney transplant in June 2016 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and open heart surgery and aortic valve replacement in January 2017 at the Golden Jubilee Hospital.
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Neither of these operations and subsequent recoveries were without their trials and technical difficulties, all of which required the very considerable expertise and dedication of surgeons, anaesthetists and theatre staff being exercised to the limits.
Indeed, every member of staff I came into contact with on these two occasions and on subsequent ward stays and follow-up appointments, treated me and my family with dignity, respect and an easy friendly manner which helped mitigate extremely worrisome times.
Each and every member of staff had taken the trouble to know my name before they walked into the room and had done their homework on exactly what stage I was at during recovery and went out of their way to ensure my stay was as pleasant as possible given the circumstances.
I consider myself and my fellow Scots to be very fortunate indeed to have a National Health Service that expertly delivers care at a time of need and that we are fortunate to not have to worry about the expense of care, interventions and subsequent medications.
Let’s not forget it is a privilege to be treated by NHS Scotland and it must remain as a valued and free treatment for all.
Ewen Maclean, Largs
CLARK Cross (Letters, The National, March 8) writes about “SNP failures in transport, education and the NHS”.
He may take pleasure in Scottish “failures” and our colony status, but those of us who favour an independent Scotland, take no pleasure at all in the failings and woeful underperformance of the NHS, transport and education in England, or anywhere, which have been highlighted as recently as yesterday. Unfortunately, there are those, whose pursuance of political advantage allows them to allow baser instincts to detract from their common humanity!
Mr Cross should turn his attention to Westminster Government which is failing everyone and he might like to suggest that they too work harder to gain more equality for women – and indeed everyone!
Bill McLean, Dunfermline
WITH IndyNew in the air, it was heartening to read yesterday’s letter from Mr Cross about golf shoes – and the problems of transport, education, and the NHS. For it’s entirely possible they’d be much better addressed in an independent Scotland, leaving Teresa May’s new England to carry on with its high-speed and strike-prone trains, its divisive grammar school programme plus university fees, and its undeniably underfunded NHS. Meanwhile, with no referendum vote announced, we can all take stock of Brexit and its effect on Scotland.
Jack Newbigging, Irvine
PHILLIP Hammond’s budget is one which will continue the pace of George Osborne’s economically ignorant ruinous “strategy” of austerity. When Osborne embarked on austerity he boasted that it would eliminate the deficit and the debt by now. Instead Osborne created more debt than all Labour chancellors in history. The price of Tory economic incompetence stands at a whopping £1.54 trillion.
According to OECD figure since 2007 UK wages have collapsed by 10.4 per cent. Only Greece saw a comparable drop. Between 2007 and 2015, the UK was the only big advanced economy in which wages contracted while the economy expanded. In most other countries, including France and Germany, both the economy and wages have grown.
Living standards however are going to get worse. A study by the Resolution Foundation released last month entitled, “Living Standards 2017 – the past, present and possible future of UK incomes”, predicts a rise in inequality and poverty in the UK over the next four years.
In November, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) wrote that British workers faced the “worst decade for pay in 70 years”. It noted that, “average earnings fell nine per cent between 2008 and 2013 as wages failed to keep pace with inflation”. Moreover, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast real wage growth would stall next year, and “even by 2021 average earnings will be below their 2008 level”.
According to the IFS, the “pain in the next few years” is likely to be concentrated “most heavily on low and middle-income families”. This was because continuing austerity measures being carried out by the Tories meant real terms cuts to means-tested benefits, so that “poorer households face a much sharper drop in incomes”.
Hammond’s mantra of “living within our means” sums up perfectly the Tory mentality. This means cuts to vital frontline services whilst giving tax-cuts to millionaire hedge-fund managers who make up the bulk of Tory donors.
The fact is the Tories are hopelessly economically incompetent and can’t be trusted on the economy.
Alan Hinnrichs, Dundee
A 2014 Ipsos Mori poll indicated that 66 per cent of Scots wanted all tax and spend and welfare powers located in Scotland.
Home rule was promised in the Vow and means everything apart from defence, foreign affairs and macro-economic policy.
Lesley Riddoch was one of many political commentators who saw the Smith Commission as a betrayal, describing plans to devolve income tax but no others as “a transparent fiscal trap and a political poisoned chalice – an invitation to Scotland’s political class to increase their spending by hammering ordinary middle and lower earners, while once again letting the seriously wealthy, and large corporations off the taxation hook”.
At the last minute welfare powers were taken away, Labour opposed devolution of the minimum wage and Broon’s near federalism melted away like snow off a dyke.
One wonders if even the prescient Ms Riddoch could have foreseen the threatened emasculation of the Scottish Nation via Ms May’s imminent “power grab”?
James Stevenson, Auchterarder
YOU did an excellent job on Tuesday (Britain’s war crimes, The National, March 7) of lifting the lid on some of Britain’s Second World War crimes. My uncle was aircrew over Dresden and in his old age, like so many former RAF and Luftwaffe aircrew , used to spend many sleepless nights agonising about the dozens of children he had killed.
However, 25 years later Air Marshal ‘Bomber’ Harris had no such inhibitions. In 1943 Harris told the War Cabinet “the aim of the bomber offensive should be unambiguously stated as the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers and the destruction of civilised life throughout Germany”.
Change “German” for “British” and the statement could as easily have been made by any of the Nazi gang in Berlin. No pretence of collateral damage there.
Public opinion in the UK became increasingly antipathetic to actions such as the blanket bombing of Dresden and it was actually 2012 before a war memorial was erected to Bomber Command.
Alan Clayton, Strachur, Argyll