AS a retired GP I was understandably troubled recently when I heard it mooted that hospitals would function at reduced capacity for the foreseeable future in order to limit the spread of Covid-19. It would appear that the Scottish Government has become so fixated on this new illness that the treatment and care of other clinical conditions have been sidelined until further notice. I have nothing but compassion and sorrow for those who have suffered from Covid-19 and for those who have lost loved ones as a result of this pandemic. However, I have equal levels of compassion and sorrow for the many people suffering from existing, and in some cases equally serious, illnesses which are still as prevalent within the population as they always have been.

Results from the United Arab Emirates, a country which has tested 4.9 million of its inhabitants for Covid-19 (almost half the population), suggest that 90 per cent of cases are asymptomatic. If, rather than just delivering daily doom-laden projections, the Scottish Government had organised and carried out more testing from the outset then we might now have some actual evidence upon which to make informed decisions going forward. Instead, politicians with no practical experience of healthcare are making knee-jerk decisions based upon the advice of academic epidemiologists with their Covid-19 blinkers on. Where’s the clinical input into decision making in Scotland from those on the ground? Our National Clinical Director clearly enjoys being centre stage across the media week in week out, but would it be imprudent of me to inquire as to his actual level of practical clinical experience?

The National Health Service was designed and introduced to look after us all, from the cradle to the grave. It should not just be left to tick over indefinitely because of concerns over what might happen because of Covid-19. Rather, it should be adapted and managed to run at full capacity – based on actual clinical evidence, not conjecture. Some advice from an ageing ex-GP for those who appear on TV in Scotland each weekday at lunchtime: you lose sight of the bigger picture the very moment you stop looking at it.

(Dr) Michael J Laggan, Perthshire.

AT the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Government-imposed lockdowns were justifiably based on the need to prevent overwhelming the NHS and Government statistics were reported in terms of deaths and admissions to hospitals.

Such occurrences have dramatically declined and the threat to the NHS significantly reduced. Why then are lockdowns now being imposed based the number of virus cases detected with few or only very small numbers of deaths and hospital admissions? Is it being used as a means of population control based on fear?

Increases in cases detected is surely largely consequent on the increased level of testing now being carried out.

GM Lindsay, Kinross.

PATRICK Tonner's suggestions as to the reopening of both private and public sector halls (Letters, August 31) is perhaps laudable but not practical whilst the contamination of coronavirus is still prevalent. The perceived draconian closure of such facilities was done in the interests of all and in particular the envisaged extra demands on our hard pressed NHS.

Surely the continuing shutdown of recreational facilities is a small price to pay in ensuring the spread of the scourge is contained and finally eliminated.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.