LIKE Professor Sir John Curtice, I am very frustrated with the cumbersome bureaucracy surrounding the current Covid vaccine programme ("Anger over Covid helpline after 14-week vaccine wait", The Herald May 18). What is the point in having an advice helpline that won’t help?

I was informed that there was no trace of my details anywhere. The operator refused to give me a number so that I could contact NHS Tayside – “I might give you the wrong number." And finally: “The 12-week number is only a guide." After lots of back and forth I finally got my second dose today; week 14. But they still have my details wrong although I was assured that would all be remedied. The nurse took all my details again the old-fashioned way – on a piece of paper.

I have three questions:

• Have the staff been properly trained and do they have all the answers to commonly-asked questions?

• Why are we repeatedly told 12 weeks is the maximum time between doses if this is not so?

• Why could the system not automatically generate the follow-up appointment as the first dose is administered? If needs be then it could be cancelled by either party.

It strikes me that we are increasingly asked to keep our side of a very one-sided bargain. And I for one am fed up of being fed misinformation and half-truths.

Patricia Harris, Perth.


I WISH to correct a number of inaccuracies in Joanna Blythman's article (“The real (and very worrying reason) why your family GP won’t see you now”, The Herald, May 15).

GP practices in Greater Glasgow and Clyde have been open and providing services to patients throughout the pandemic.

Due to Covid restrictions, practices have been working differently to deliver a safe and effective care to patients that is based on clinical need. Telephone and remote consultation using video and technology are being used to assess patients’ needs so that the right care can be offered.

This has made it necessary to limit the numbers attending the practice premises only to those patients who require a face to face appointment, for example for a physical examination, blood tests, or treatments such as injections. Many practices have small waiting areas and would not be able to physically distance the patients who are waiting to be seen.

It is imperative that social distancing is maintained to minimise the spread of Covid, especially when more transmissible variants are circulating.

The workload in GP practices is higher than pre-pandemic levels. Many surgeries are reporting patient contacts in excess of 10 per cent of their registered population per week. For a practice with say 5,000 patients, this can mean more than 500 patient consultations per week, with many of those being face to face appointments. GP practices continue to provide home visits to those who are housebound and for palliative patients.

Patients with mental health issues, patients with multiple and complex long-term issues, and long Covid are being dealt with by GPs in the community. Unlike the hospital sector, GP practices do not operate a waiting list. Many practices are providing same-day access to a GP for their patients.

Secondary care has also had to implement different procedures owing to the pandemic. This has led to increased waiting times for hospital clinics. GPs are having to plug this gap in care whilst patients are on waiting lists.

GPs are doing their best for their patients whilst keeping everyone safe and prioritising care on the basis of clinical need. General practice is open and will continue to be available to patients.

Dr John Ip, Medical Director, Glasgow Local Medical Committee.


IT would appear we are in for a year of recovery for the tourism industry ("Scots to spend £3 billion on UK holidays after lockdown release", The Herald, May 17). Very welcome indeed.

With regards to tourists, there is the issue of public toilets and their availability. In recent years, pre-dating the pandemic, many cash-strapped local authorities closed their public toilets. This is a very serious subject going forward from near on a year of lockdown, when families will be desperate to get out and about, not just for their physical health, but for their mental wellbeing. With staycations set to soar, provision of public toilets must be provided for this most basic of human need. It could make the difference between an enjoyable time out as opposed to adding to one’s stress.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


DAVID Miller (Letters, May 18) raises the subject of the pronunciation of place names. Many years ago I got chatting to a lady at a conference in Birmingham. When I mentioned I was from Scotland she told me she had Scottish friends and she was able to pronounce their name: "Mingis". I asked her where they lived and her reply was "a small place near Kirkintilloch called Lingi".

Scott Macintosh, Killearn.

• DAVID Miller suspects “a whiff of old-fashioned upper-class refinement” in the pronunciation of Killermont and Gullane, whereas, in Findochty on the shores of the Moray Firth, Kilconquhar in the East Neuk of Fife, and salubrious Milngavie, I detect local perversity in pronunciation impenetrable to a stranger.

I celebrate the fact that such wickedness is absent in the good Cocklecrushers of Largs.

R Russell Smith, Largs.