SADLY, Andrew McKie makes the common mistake of confusing assisted dying with euthanasia ("Doctors are right, this assisted dying bill could go so dreadfully wrong", The Herald, July 6). More than 40 years in medical practice convinced me that, while palliative care is usually very effective, it is not invariably so.

No matter how exalted a position any medical practitioner may achieve, his or her opinion is only as important as that of the most humble patient. During my career, the buzz-words, invented by politicians, were that care should be “patient-centred” (as if it should ever have been anything else). If this is true for the living, why should it not equally be the case for the dying? The crux of the current proposed bill to be laid before Parliament centres on the patient being of sound mind to make a decision about their own end. The possible complications of “pressure" and “being a burden” are only put forward by opponents of the bill.

In countries which have introduced satisfactory legislation in relation to assisted dying, I see no sign of any of them trying to reverse the decision. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, be it based on what they believe to be religious, moral or ethical grounds, but the only opinion which matters is that of the dying person. Dealing with death is very hard, dealing with dying is very much harder. This debate must continue.

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.


I HAVE been following with considerable interest the commentaries and correspondence on the subject of the Holyrood bill to legalise assisted dying. I found myself conflicted, and on a regular basis, moving from being in favour of legislation to being against it.

Those in favour have narrated harrowing personal experiences involving the suffering of loved ones in the latter stages of their lives and would seek that others are spared that anguish undergone by the ill and the traumas experienced by members of their families. On the other hand, there are those who argue that many who are vulnerable would be endangered by such legislation and its existence would put additional pressure on families and health care workers. Moreover, those with terminal illness might feel obliged to use the legal provisions to avoid being a burden on their families. The arguments on both sides are compelling and persuasive. I have now become more inclined to support the introduction of the legislation in Scotland. However, it is a hard choice.

I have come to the view that we should follow the example of New Zealand and hold a referendum on the subject. They passed the End of Life Choice Act in 2019, which would legalise voluntary euthanasia for those with a terminal illness and less than six months to live, if confirmed to qualify by two doctors. A referendum on the issue, as provided for, was held on October 17, 2020 and, since more than 65 per cent of voters supported the proposal, the legislation will come into force in November this year. I would suggest that we follow the New Zealand example on this profoundly difficult issue and let the people decide.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


YOUR front page story ("Flat owners face £40,000 bills to meet green targets", The Herald, July 6) highlighted the costs that owners of tenement flats might be faced with if their properties are to be retro-fitted to meet new carbon emission standards. What I found surprising was the statement that “if all the changes were made, an estimated 303,522 tonnes of CO2 would be saved annually”.

In isolation, if correct, this seems a large amount. However, it is only when this is benchmarked against the amount of CO2 equivalent emitted in Scotland each year that its insignificance becomes clear. Figures provided by the Scottish Government indicated that in 2017 40.5 million tonnes were emitted, whilst the 2021/22 Scottish budget is estimated to result in 10.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent being released to the atmosphere.

When set alongside these figures the savings arising from the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing Two are negligible. The measure smacks of tokenism rather than a serious attempt to curb emissions. If Scotland is serious about tackling climate change then action needs to be taken to deal with the main sources of emissions, in particular transport, rather than focussing upon easy targets such as housing.

Keith Hayton, Glasgow.


I CAN'T understand why the BBC employs incoherent commentators. It appears that if you are good at your sport you automatically are a good commentator.

Wimbledon is a prime example. Instead of clear concise informative commentary, we have to endure Martina Navratilova and Boris Becker rambling on in broken English.

Surely we have some other commentators who are equally proficient?

Neil Stewart, Balfron.


RDRS ntrstd n glf wll hv ntd tht th abrdn Scottish Open is being held this week at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick.

The CEO of abrdn, formerly Standard Life Aberdeen, is quoted as saying that he is delighted to have reached this milestone. Was he afraid that investors might confuse the company with one whose employees kick a football around?

Oh, to have been working and earning large sums of money creating this sort of bastardisation of our language.

David Miller, Milngavie.