NINE months ago, I received a very nice letter from the General Medical Council offering to rescind my resignation from the medical list. I responded with an equally polite letter declining the offer, pointing out that after eight years of retirement, and with medicine having moved on somewhat in the interim, it was likely that I would be more of a liability than an asset.

In the course of my medical career, I must have given many hundreds of injections and certainly took thousands of blood samples (yes, long ago, GPs did actually carry out their own practical procedures and most of us were really quite good at it), so I reckon I know my way about a syringe and a needle. My wife, who was a nurse, would still be equally proficient.

However, on researching how we might volunteer to help with the roll-out of the vaccines, I found a "re-training” programme which involved many, many modules including the ones on diversity and de-radicalisation. Dr Alan Mitchell, a practising GP, writes today (Letters, January 7) to inform us that even without these, it takes six hours to complete the application. I have just picked up my regular prescription and my pharmacist (who successfully gave us our flu jabs in November) told me that he has had to undergo a two-hour training programme for the new vaccines, but like Dr Mitchell, he has yet to hear anything from the health board about when his services will be utilised.

When did the idiots who run the Department of Political Correctness take over the asylum? The country is in crisis and the roll-out of vaccines is the most crucial element in the fight against this virus, before it mutates again. Surely anyone and everyone who is capable of giving an injection should be utilised as soon as the vaccine supplies are available? Without any of the nonsense currently being perpetrated.

John N E Rankin, Bridge of Allan.


I SYMPATHISE with my GP colleagues regarding the lack of vaccines for the vaccinators ("Covid vaccine rollout for the over-80s faces delay", The Herald, January 7).

If I could cast your readers' minds back to the roll-out of the flu vaccination service, community pharmacists and staff were told that they were not allowed to receive the NHS flu vaccination. At the point we were told this, all the private vaccines had been administered to patients and we were instructed to start vaccinating carers followed by those aged 60-64.Yes, no vaccinations for the vaccinators.

Anyone who worked through the first lockdown will have noticed that community pharmacy and staff were and are very much on the frontline. (This has at last been noticed with the receipt of the Team of the Year Award at the Scottish Government Health ceremony for pharmacy teams across Scotland, although there has been no mention of this in the media.) I have been so incensed by the lack of recognition of community pharmacy that I have written a Covid diary, The Other Frontline, and produced a documentary on the same subject so at least there will be a record of the contribution that my colleagues have made to helping patients during this difficult and demanding pandemic for all involved.

Elizabeth Roddick, New Life Pharmacy, Glasgow G44.


THE pandemic and Brexit shenanigans dragged the UK into its first recession for more than a decade at the start of last year. We had a brief respite in the third quarter as the first lockdown lifted, but the economy is expected to shrink again in the final three months of 2020 with Covid restrictions re-imposed. So we face our first double-dip recession since 1975, with the latest lockdown expected to cost £500 million per day.

The only thing making Covid Scotland remotely tolerable is the First Minister’s promise that this time there will be a competent vaccine roll-out. However, given the Horlicks made of recruiting retired medical staff, one has to wonder if the NHS can deliver. We need drive-in centres, 24/7 sites and above all, the Army drafted in, if we are to escape yet another winter in lockdown.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


I COULDN'T agree more with George Dale (Letters, January 7). The World Health Organisation still advocates that the second dose of the vaccine should take place 21 days after the first, so why are we messing with the timescale? I fear this is another mistake that will come back to haunt the Government like so many others during this pandemic.

Shaun Murphy, Kilbirnie.


I DESPAIR. What were people thinking would happen?

A fortnight after Christmas and the Covid numbers are growing exponentially throughout the UK. Were we not warned that this would be the result of mixing during the festive period, and all this before the results of New Year parties?

For goodness sake, follow the rules lest we're overwhelmed before the vaccines are delivered to us all.

Bill Brown, Dumfries.


I DO not challenge the findings of a US study which shows that self-control in early life may help set people up for healthy ageing ("Self-control ‘could add years to life’", The Herald, January 7). But in my advanced years I justify past, and anticipated, lapses with advice from American versifier Ogden Nash (1902- 1971):

“Home is heaven and orgies are vile,

But you need an orgy once in a while”.

R Russell Smith, Largs.