THE media is full of lynch mobs baying for blood over Holyrood’s decision to relocate hundreds of elderly bed-blockers from NHS hospitals to private care homes, apparently taking with them Covid-19. No matter how one tries to dress it up, the outcome has been disastrous.

But wait. These poor souls didn’t need, nor probably want, to be stuck in hospital; they caught the disease while they were in hospital, not when out in the community. The problem was not that they were decanted into care homes in the midst of a pandemic, but that it wasn’t done long before that. They were unnecessarily put at risk by being in hospital. What the shambles does illustrate is the chronic problem of bed-blocking in the NHS and the continual juggling that has to be done by “bed managers” and the concomitant “clinician huddles” that have become the norm in our hospitals simply because of staff shortages and insufficient inpatient beds.

I believe the chronic problem that should be causing outrage and indignation as well the current bourach is why successive UK governments have stripped the NHS bare and have allowed a disjunct to be created between the NHS and a predominantly privatised care home industry. Studies have demonstrated that Westminster austerity policies have in the recent past contributed to the premature deaths of 130,000 UK citizens, primarily the elderly and infirm. Why are we continuing to allow Westminster to treat my generation as worthless and expandable? The virus is just exposing an underlying malaise in our governance.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

IT was with despair that I read the disclosure that the elderly were "rushed out" of hospitals in order to make availability for a flood of Covid-19 patients which has not yet materialised ("Report shows ‘hasty’ move of elderly to care homes", The Herald, June 2) – surely their transfers could easily have awaited tests or at least a knowledge that their vacated beds were in fact required. This is made worse by the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon diverting attention from the resultant hundreds of care home deaths by trying to question the accuracy of numbers in England, at the same time as showing no leadership of health in Scotland.

Care homes cause much confusion for the Scottish Government and health authorities – partly due to the fact that each health board now has the added confusion of having to work with a range of local authorities through the Integrated Joint Boards – yet another tier of SNP-induced governance. These boards were introduced from 2016, but even now their review and accountability to the Scottish Government is totally unclear to their leadership, having been questioned regularly by NHS Scotland senior executives seeking clarity but being provided with none by Holyrood – an absence of accountability which has now come home to roost. The ineffective Jeane Freeman's answer to address the care home crisis of her own making has been to instruct all NHS board nurse directors that they now also are accountable for care homes in their area, which is simply another exercise in endless buck-passing.

Even now, as the Scottish health boards endeavour to return to normality, they are each preparing their own remobilisation plans, on an individual basis and no doubt with varying priorities, which will mean no consistency across the country for the poor patients who have seen their vital treatments and surgeries postponed in the last 10 weeks. At a time when a consistent approach and clear leadership is required for NHS Scotland, there is none.

The only clarity is that Ms Sturgeon has no trust in any of her team, hence her insistence on making her daily announcements herself in a continuing mission to persuade us all that she is caring and in control, while all around her the health service stutters along from one issue to another. She is no doubt consoling herself that by this effort she continues to distract from the troubles of FoI concealment, foundering shipyards and over-budget ferries, and plummeting educational standards – but it is sad to see how many of the electorate such as Robert Taylor (Letters, June 2) fall for her endless spin and diversion.

Steph Johnson, Glasgow G12.

NOW we are stretching credibility to the max.

At a time when we and the world were facing one of the most catastrophic events in our history, our political leader was holding meetings about it where no records were kept of the advice given or the decisions made ("Labour says apparent lack of written briefings is ‘disturbing’", The Herald, June 3).

First, how do you as the political leader keep track of developments? Secondly, in the enormity of the fast-moving situation, how do you know how/if your previous decisions have impacted on the situation? Thirdly; how can anyone subsequently be held to account?

The holders of government positions hold them temporarily, what they do and how they do it write our history. The records, when there are any, belong to the people and the country.

Of course the First Minister is briefed many times a day and by different methods, but if it is a verbal briefing I am sure she has an excellent note taker.

It is also difficult to imagine that any professor or doctor would arrive at a First Minister’s briefing without written support.

W MacIntyre, East Kilbride.

MY son, who lives in Somerset, was able to drive 40 miles to the nearest beach on the south coast with his family for a swim. The beach was busy but not overcrowded. Car parks were open and even a public toilet.

In Scotland we have this somewhat vague five-mile advisory limit. While Edinburgh has a beach at Portobello, five miles in Glasgow takes you as far as Glasgow. If everybody who wanted to sunbathe in this area obeyed the limit, open spaces would be extremely overcrowded, increasing the risk of virus transmission and cooling down in the water impossible.

It should have come as no surprise that the limit would largely be ignored. A more sensible approach would be to allow people to travel a reasonable distance, particularly from urban areas, and have car parks and some facilities open.

Another anomaly is that when visiting family or friends you are advised not to use the toilet. Surely the use of a bit of common sense would mean that a bathroom would be the easiest room in the house to sanitise.

Alexander Johnston, Inchinnan.

IN his sweeping condemnation of the third sector and charities I would ask David Bone (Letters, June 3) which third sector body or charity he would like to dispense with. In my experience as a local councillor over 10 years, the third sector provided a valuable resource, where local and national government could not deliver or provide a service. I would add most charities exist for the same very good reasons.

I would remind Mr Bone it was the Scottish Government led by Jack McConnell as First Minister which brought in the very successful ban on smoking in public places and is to be rightly commended for that. In the same vein the current Scottish Government brought in minimum pricing of units for alcohol, in the teeth of opposition from the Scotch Whisky Association, more concerned with the profits of the drinks industry than public health.

Events at the weekend were unfortunately spoiled by a minority, brought on by a combination of the good weather and the relaxation of the guidelines. Sadly, when the guidance is ignored by the few, it can be others who suffer the consequences.

Alec Oattes, Ayr.

I THOUGHT we lived in the 21st century, however to see the picture in today’s Herald of MPs queueing as per conga line ("Mind the gap", The Herald, June 3) made me think otherwise. What happens when the rain comes, I wonder?

With some MPs self-isolating or sheltering, it is a national disgrace that this is the vision of our democracy at work. No wonder other nations are looking at us in wonder of our tinpot Parliament at work.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.

Read more: Letters: So why can't the SNP treat us like adults?