I NOTE with interest Helen McArdle's column ("The NHS needs more than money – it needs new ideas", The Herald, November 15).

Although many of the problems with the health services are a result of budgets cuts, throwing money at it is not the answer.

Money will not replace the trained staff who have already returned to their EU countries, the exodus that has started will gather way when the UK leaves the EU and staff encounter more problems resulting from the loss of freedom of movement, the need for health insurance and so on for on themselves and their families.

Unfortunately for the people of England, the chickens that hatched as a result of the Tory and LibDem Coalition's Health and Social Care Act 2012, reorganising the health service in England, have come home to roost only a few weeks before the General Election.

Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should remember that funds allocated by the UK Government to the block grants to their devolved parliaments are based on the ring-fenced funding allocated by the UK Government to the equivalent services in England.

The health service in Scotland is performing better than that in England because funding in the block grant is not ring-fenced so the devolved government can spend proportionately more on health services than is spent in England, through prioritising the health service at the cost of other services.

As austerity has been applied across the board in England to all services, police, fire, education, local authorities, transport and so on it is only a matter of time before the devolved parliaments no longer have enough flexibility to switch funds from other services to cover the deficiencies that are now causing this serious deterioration in the health service England.

The health service deserves better than this mock auction between the Tories and Labour, which is making a mockery of the people who need and use our health services.

John Jamieson, South Queensferry.

NICOLA Sturgeon made the grand declaration that her Government would be the most open and transparent. How odd when the SNP constantly avoids scrutiny by hindering the use of FOI, and hides behind patient confidentiality and the destruction of Nicola Sturgeon’s hand-written notes.

Scottish NHS patients deserve better than what Jeane Freeman and the SNP are providing in the form of care and openness. The fact that a child died after contracting an infection linked to the water at Glasgow’s largest hospital should not require a whistle blower to reveal this information ("Minister says: I knew about cancer child’s death from water bug", The Herald, November 15). This is a matter of public concern and while the child’s identity should be protected, the family at the very least should have been informed.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

WITH Nicola Sturgeon's determination to call indyref2, citing the material change of circumstances over Brexit, one has to wonder if many nationalist supporters have even questioned this decision? Had Scotland become independent in 2014 then the circumstances would have meant we would have been out of the EU with no chance to re-enter for a very long time. Ms Sturgeon is ignoring the truth and manipulating the situation to aid her campaign based on division, anger and self-i.

How refreshing it would be to return to honest politics with representatives who work for the good of the people of Scotland, to improve our failing services, to bring reasoned debate to important matters and who do not stand for one reason and one reason only, independence at any cost.

Pauline Eggermont, Inverness.

WHEN we stand in the ballot box, pencil in hand, on December 12, perhaps we should remind ourselves how the EU deals with its own recalcitrant member states. In June 1992, the Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty, but by May 1993 they had been bribed back into the fold.

In June 2001, the Irish rejected the Nice Treaty, but by October 2002 had been dragooned into changing their mind.

In June 2005, the French and Dutch voted against the new European Constitution, and wound up having to alter theirs instead.

In June 2008, the Lisbon Treaty was rejected by the Irish, but once Brussels's special pressure was applied it was approved 16 months later.

Europhiles try to portray the EU as a ''free market'' which we're foolishly abandoning. In fact, it's a highly regulated, protectionist bloc, which harms nations' comparative advantages internally through ''harmonisation'', and, rather than compete on the global market, prefers to stifle competition through the common external tariff.

And the EU's brutal attempts to bring non-member Switzerland to heel by denying access to the single market show that it is not afraid of bullying where necessary.

Doug Clark, Currie.

THE right-wing pact between the Brexit and Conservative parties only underlines the case for Scottish independence, as Scotland's future could be decided by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

When respected senior Westminster politicians, like the former Tory Chancellor and Deputy Labour leader, resign and are cast aside it is obvious that the continuing disaster of Brexit has broken the UK. Because of Brexit the UK, that Scotland voted to stay part of in 2014, no longer exists.

When Unionist parties say it doesn't matter how Scotland votes at this election or at the 2021 Holyrood one, no matter how large an independence mandate is secured, they will not allow a referendum; this flies in the face of democracy. Scotland's future must be in Scottish hands and not in the hands of a Westminster government we did not vote for.

Grant Frazer, Newtonmore.

IN the run-up to the General Election, and as photoshoots become even more bizarre, if not ludicrous, it would be possible to think that, with the usual visits to nursery schools with camera crews in tow, politicians were planning to drastically reduce the voting age to below five. Lesson one, children, how to place a big X on a ballot paper.

But what 's the alternative? Donning military fatigues and sitting on, or even "driving" a tank? About the nearest that any of our leading parliamentarians will have been to the armed forces.

Please spare us the remaining weeks of this nonsense and treat the electorate as adults.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

I’VE been in despair at the thought of another few weeks of campaigning for the General Election and then I saw the candidates for the Herald Politician of the Year awards ("Politician of the Year 2019: The shortlist", The Herald, November 14). Things are even worse than I thought.

Michael Watson, Glasgow G73.

Read more: Tories call for health secretary to resign over Glasgow super hospital child death