The irony of the recent events in the Mid Staffordshire Hospital, where patients were scandalously neglected, is that it would cost not a penny more to implement what is basic nurse care ("Shut failing hospitals, urges inquiry into NHS deaths", The Herald, February 7).

The problem arises when existing senior staff have neither time nor trained nurses to carry out what was once the hallmark of the Scottish reputation for excellence, here and abroad.

I, and other retired nurses, have been very concerned to see these standards fall over the years when management became top-heavy at the expense of phasing out nurses in the wards and in some NHS nursing homes. To bring in robots and the hand-cleansing dispensers at entrances to hospital wards can never be a substitute for good medical practices and hands-on staff who are encouraged to spend time with patients in their care.

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Janet Cunningham,

1 Cedar Avenue, Stirling.

Jody Harrison's article rightly highlights the appalling failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, so graphically and eloquently described in QC Robert Francis's lengthy and powerful report. He emphasised the systemic failures and lack of leadership from the Department of Health, via the so-called regulatory bodies, to the wards themselves where so many patients suffered from lack of care and proper medical attention. In these circumstances how can people like the head of the NHS and the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing possibly remain in post?

I hope Julie Bailey's remarkable efforts as a fearless, articulate campaigner will be amply recognised in the Birthday Honours List – her late mother would be very proud of her. At least she has shown courage, integrity and leadership in her pursuit of answers.

Ronald J Sandford,

1 Scott Garden, Kingsbarns.