WHILE it was great to read Ally McLaws' column about the good work happening at the NHS Centre for Integrative Care ("In the absence of scientific proof, belief is good enough", April 25), a reader could surmise it promotes little more than positive psychology. Quite the contrary.

The person-centred holistic care practices at the NHS CIC are evidence-based and persistently yield positive patient reported outcomes, such as reducing or stopping both pharmaceutical prescriptions and GP visits, and increasing wellbeing. Does anyone really think the NHS would support anything that was not helping patients?

The fact is this hospital preceded the NHS and in 1948, when NHS Scotland formed, this hospital was part of it. Look beyond the borders of Scotland and you'll see that the EU, the United States and others are heartily investing in integrative medicine. Shocking that Scotland, which has a tremendous heritage of pioneering health and medicine including holistic medicine, should be moving backwards; especially in light of Nicola Sturgeon's commitment to creating an economy in which wellbeing is as fundamental as GDP. The NHS CIC is a beacon for the NHS at large for healthcare that is safer and more affordable, more sustainable and more accessible. They ought to invest in that.

Liza Horan, Vice Chair, Friends of the NHS CIC, Edinburgh.

* IT is absolutely shocking that more than one in 10 Scots have been taking antidepressants for more than three years ("Prozac nation", April 25).

People may be prescribed antidepressants due to a number of circumstances in the first instance, but leaving people languishing on antidepressants, with no good evidence for their long-term use is not the answer. People need more support when coming off antidepressants as well.

Recent research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that hypnotherapy was an effective treatment for depression. Why does the NHS not refer more patients for hypnotherapy in the first instance and also to support patients when they are coming off antidepressants?

Stephen McMurray, Edinburgh.


IT regrettably is not surprising to read another letter penned by Alexander McKay (April 25) that continues his campaign to distract from the sleaze and manifest failings of the UK Government at Westminster by attempting to undermine the work of the Scottish Government at Holyrood and our First Minister. Unfortunately for Mr McKay, and fortunately for Scotland, more Scots are aware of what is actually happening within the UK (as opposed to what is reported by the BBC and much of the mainstream media) than he appears to give them credit for.

It is known that across the UK it was the policy of all governments through the initial days of the pandemic to return patients clinically determined as "well" to care homes because with appropriate isolation it was considered by "the experts" that they would be safer there than in the midst of the anticipated catastrophic pandemic conditions of our hospitals. Furthermore, it is also known that the tragedy of high numbers of deaths in care homes was repeated across Europe and beyond. What Mr McKay doesn’t include in his latest attack on the First Minister is any reference to the reports by Channel 4 News, the Financial Times or the London School of Economics, on the under-reporting of Covid-19 related deaths in England, including those in care homes. In fact a report by the University of Stirling found that "excess deaths" in care homes were higher under supposedly “focused” governments in both England and Wales than in Scotland.

Perhaps if Mr McKay were less obsessed with his perceived failings of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP he might legitimately direct more of his concerns towards the care homes that did not provide adequate protection for either the vulnerable in their care, or their staff, or towards the Government that promoted private ownership and management of our care homes. Better still, he could join the First Minister in calling for a four-nations inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic to begin this year.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.


A NEW report on the state of Scotland's finances is stark in its contents. Currently public spending in Scotland is £2,543 per person more than the taxes raised here. Undoubtedly this figure can only get worse. It is therefore no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon does not want to talk about the details of her push for independence, as they are unpalatable.

The younger in society and the less well-off would be badly affected if Scotland became independent. Whilst this topic is not just about economics it has to be said it is a very major factor. With all this talk of "sleaze" in politics surely it is time for the SNP to come clean about the true impact of independence.

The SNP wants this Holyrood election to be all about independence but without the rather "inconsiderate" details being aired. That has to be seen as being economical with the truth. Open and transparent government?

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


WE have never had a UK Government like this one. We’ve had lots of Tory governments before, but never one like this. It is quite prepared to ride roughshod over any laws it doesn't like. Dishonesty and deceit are routine, it will happily and blatantly mislead Parliament. It does so with impunity, as there is no meaningful opposition. All scrutiny has been closed down, so it feels emboldened to do what it has always wanted. It has made no secret of its contempt for the Scottish Government and will happily sideline, then abolish Holyrood. They never wanted it in the first place.

So I seriously hope that the Scottish electorate will see through the Tory lies and empty promises in the May elections, and vote to give the Scottish parties a clear majority, as this may be the only chance to protect our parliament. The threat to Holyrood has never been greater.

Alan Anderson, Portlethen.


I WATCHED the Scottish Leaders' debate on Channel 4 where Krishnan Guru-Murthy acted as the ringmaster of that appalling circus.

If they were not interrupting each other ,then the ringmaster was cutting across their responses with interjected comments or questions. It was not a sight to encourage confidence in the capacities of any of the participants. Indeed, the only bright spot in the whole debate was Nicola Sturgeon's bright red suit. That was the highlight of the whole evening.

The thought that these are the people who want to lead our country just makes me cringe.

Ms Sturgeon, a female Uriah Heep, is patronising, Patrick Harvie has ambitions beyond his abilities, Douglas Ross is peddling the old Tory party line and he deserves to be shown the red card for that, the softly-spoken Anas Sarwar comes across as weak while Willie Rennie talks well but must realise that his party is going nowhere fast.

As for the ringmaster, he was more the lord of misrule in that there seemed to be no rules being followed or imposed upon the participants to prevent interruptions and interjections, himself being one of the main culprits in that regard.

No follower of that broadcast will have come away from that programme enlightened in, enthused by, or converted from, their already formulated choice. If anything, viewers will have been taken aback by the poverty of the contributions from all those taking part in this stramash of a debate.

It made me wonder whether this is the sad price we have to pay for having Holyrood and the likelihood of home rule.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


YOUR article reporting the views of Lord McConnell on the current state of the Scottish Labour Party ("‘I do not believe the constitutional issue is the No. 1 concern’", April 25) was interesting. However .his assertion that Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn appeared anti-British was a lazy and ill-informed comment .

For the life of me I cannot see how policies supporting investment in things like affordable housing and an adequately funded NHS developed under the Corbyn leadership can be described as anti-British.

Also Corbyn leadership policies such as avoiding ill-judged foreign wars strike me as very good news for service personnel who have suffered through involvement in conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq

It is a pity Lord McConnell and some other senior Labour figures did not give more backing to the progressive policies of the Westminster leadership of Mr Corbyn and the Holyrood leadership of Richard Leonard. This might have prevented the current situation of the Scottish Labour Party having to compete with the Scottish Tories for second place in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections

Arthur West, Irvine.


I FILLED my car with 31.57 litres of petrol at a cost of £39.12. The receipt showed this as £32.60 plus VAT £6.52. Every litre of fuel attracts 57.95p of fuel duty so I contributed £18.29. That meant I gave the Government £25.71.

Motorists contributed £27.57 billion in fuel duty taxes in 2019/2020 plus VAT so where will this come from when petrol/diesel vehicles are banned, under the pretext of climate change, and replaced by electric vehicles which only the rich can afford?

Petrol stations should show fuel duty as a separate item and once the motorists see how much they are paying every time they fill up there will be well-merited demonstrations.

Meanwhile the rest of the world drives 1.2 billion vehicles, China 378 million so banning the UK's 40m will not make one iota of difference to climate change.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


AS a life-long blondie who spent 33 years as an officer/captain with Calmac I feel fairly safe in saying that Oban does not translate as little bay (Best of Scotland magazine, May edition) but as fair bay: O for harbour, bhan for fair or safe. As for little, that was how my Stornoway wife often described my trout brought home after a day on the hill lochs around the area.

David Fyfe, Arbroath.