THE other night I was on a Zoom call with around 20 doctors and nurses of all generations and a mix of specialties in NHS Scotland, and each one expressed their deep concern over the undue pressures they and their colleagues are under at this present time. Shortage of staff due to sickness or self-isolation is resulting in certain services being shut down, and the remaining staff are anxious because of the workload. In addition, the increased number of very sick Covid patients together with the complexity of the precautions essential to diminish cross-infection, all contribute to the anxiety levels within our NHS.

A discouraging atmosphere pervades, with members of the public who heartily clapped and lauded the NHS and other essential workers in the spring, now complaining and making life even more difficult for those who are seeking to serve under severe constraints. The working staff are on the receiving end of verbal abuse because of things not in their control.

Please, reader, understand that our NHS and other workers are under huge pressures; they are tired and see that the reality is of many months yet to come of these pressures, with perhaps years of catching up on missed treatments and operations. They are doing their very best to encourage each other, and to support their colleagues through the effects of this pandemic. That evening we listened to each other's story, which parallelled our own, and were thankful for our colleagues who bear the burden alongside us, more than giving of their best each day or night they worked together.

So please remember our NHS staff, police, carers, social workers, counsellors, refuse collectors, school teachers, postmen/women, and all those who work under great stress so that we, the public, can live well in our wonderful country. Spare a thought for each one, quit complaining, share a smile and a warm greeting with those who serve you.

Alasdair HB Fyfe, Eaglesham.


OH what a miserable little article ("Wrongs of the £500 reward for NHS and care workers", The Herald, December 14) by Guy Stenhouse, who I guess has never put his life on the line dealing with a potential fatal disease.

It is fine to sit at your desk with a pen poised to write an article for which you are being paid. I don't suppose £500 would mean much to him but I am sure there are plenty of NHS staff and care workers who are grateful for a "thank you" over and above some hand clapping.

Stick to financial comment, Mr Stenhouse.

Dave Biggart, Kilmacolm.


ON December 13 the total number of British people killed by the coronavirus in the previous nine months exceeded the number killed by bombing during five and a half years of the Second World War. May this grim figure remind us all to continue observing the regulations on social distancing for as long as they may be needed.

Kenneth Fraser, St Andrews.


A RECURRING major concern throughout the current crisis has been the progress and welfare of our young people in schools. One of the major issues has been the disruption to normal teaching and learning brought on by Covid affecting all involved in our schools: pupils, teachers and support staff. Repeatedly I have read of the need to recruit additional teachers to assist in these unique times.

One area which, as far as I know, has not been sourced is staring the Government in the face. Our Inspectorate is currently not inspecting schools. This looks likely to be the continuing scenario well into 2021 and possibly beyond the summer recess. Seven more months, at least, of these highly qualified and well respected teachers not performing the tasks they normally carry out.

What an opportunity to bring their expertise directly into the classrooms. They would bring great skills, breadth of experience and the love of young people which they clearly will have demonstrated to attain their present positions. To have such highly qualified and skilled practitioners at the disposal of our young people but not to utilise them borders on negligence.

Making this move would also have fairly significant financial benefit in these difficult times. The salaries of these teaching colleagues are already accounted for and there would surely be good savings in deploying the inspectors, temporarily, where great benefits could be accrued.

Taking the possibility one step further, what an opening to place such expertise and experience into the most disadvantaged areas. Closing the attainment gap is an aim constantly sought. Utilising the Inspectorate with such a focus must present a heaven-sent chance in these hellish times.

Having worked closely with Inspectorate colleagues in more than 20 years of senior leadership in secondary schools, I can attest to the quality these colleagues have to offer our young people.

Rod O’Donnell, Milngavie.


REGARDING Christmas songs (“Finally, Carey classic is No 1”, The Herald, December 12, and Letters, December 14): we will not be Driving Home for Christmas because There’s Something in the Air.

Thank you. Available all week.

John Dunlop, Ayr.