I HAD a chest X-ray the other day; I was told it would take two to three weeks to get the result to my GP. Really? It could be hand-delivered by a man on a bike in 10 minutes; however, the situation graphically demonstrates that the NHS is broken.

Having spent most of my adult life working in the NHS, when I read or hear politicians and others moaning about “missed targets” “waiting times” or “waiting-list initiatives” I wonder whether they are being deliberately obtuse or are just congenitally dense ("Opposition raises concerns A&E waiting times are ‘spiralling out of control’", The Herald, July 28, and Letters, July 29). The bland acceptance of the existence of these parameters is actually an acknowledgement that in its current form the NHS is not fit for purpose.

Rather than asking why impossible targets have not been met, why don’t our MSPs ask why the NHS relies on staff trained overseas to function and why the UK Establishment has deliberately decided not to train sufficient doctors and nurses to staff it? Nobody questions why there are no substantial waiting lists in the private sector for those with the resources or contacts to use it, this despite the staff working in that sector having in the main been trained in the NHS and many are actually moonlighting from NHS posts. Nobody questions why when in every survey comparing global health providers the NHS comes out tops for quality and cost that it is starved of funding by Westminster, especially when the UK Government, unlike its Norwegian counterpart, can afford to give North Sea oil corporations tax breaks. We can afford the likes of HS2, Trident and even a new royal yacht but we can’t afford to train or employ enough people to ensure adequate levels of staffing in and funding for our NHS.

The NHS is not an organisation staffed by heroes or angels but by ordinary people who are in the main dedicated professionals who work harder and longer than their contracted hours demand. It is managed with an ethos designed to produce “more bang for less bucks” irrespective of the detrimental effect this may have on staff well-being and morale.

The real problem with the NHS doesn’t lie within its ranks but within Westminster and Holyrood where our elected representatives must realise the true nature of the situation yet for decades have done absolutely nothing to rectify it. Why?

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


RECENTLY both my brother and my son purchased top-floor flats in the south of Glasgow.

My brother lives a few metres over the border in East Renfrewshire while my son has bought his flat a few metres within the Glasgow side of the boundary.

My brother, who receives no government benefits, made an application under the Local Authority Flexibility Eligibility (LA Flex) scheme run by East Renfrewshire Council and is now awaiting an upgrade to his loft installation. This is also available in North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire,West Lothian and Carlisle.

My son made an inquiry to Glasgow City Council about insulating his loft under the same scheme, to be told it wasn't available to Glasgow residents. Only those on specific benefits were eligible for free energy-efficient programmes

Speaking to the contractor who is doing my brother's installation, I was told LA Flex had been under consideration by Glasgow for some time but appeared to being passed between departments awaiting someone to make the final decision.

As hosts of the COPS 26 climate change summit is there not a certain hypocrisy on the part of Glasgow City Council on this issue?

Robert Aitken, Glasgow.


LIKE many amateur genealogists who have spent decades researching their family trees, I've long appreciated the long-standing Scottish tradition of naming one's first daughter for her maternal grandmother and the first son for his paternal grandfather. In some 19th century probes, it has significantly shortened the time needed to trawl through the records, often providing clues as to which branch of the family the individual belonged.

However, in the last two decades I've become concerned about the practice of choosing names for new babies that have no relevance to their ancestors (in some cases it's now hard to work out whether they are male or female) and I wonder how the genealogists 100 years from now will manage to trace their forebears?

Then I think: perhaps by then the state and big business will have so much of our personal information on record, it will be comparatively easy?

John F Crawford, Lytham.


SINCE learning on Radio 4 last week that we are now to be more mindful of conserving diminishing water supplies and not let water run as we clean our teeth, I now turn my bathroom tap on and off about 20 times as I perform each necessary dental ablution; three times each day. A lot of tap-turning. What I am wondering is ... will all this extra turning on and off wear out our taps more quickly?

My new kitchen tap, 10 years ago, needed a total replacement after just five years and again this year and it is never involved with teeth-cleaning. Does this mean that conserving water makes extra work for metal miners, tap manufacturers, DIY shops and plumbers? I am only asking.

I hasten to add that I am not a fanatical turner-on-and-off of taps. Just thinking of all the saving of the planet we have to do.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


WITH a view to making itself attractive to a wider audience the BBC is using more commentators with regional accents. That’s all very well, but should they be allowed to ruin the English language? I’m referring in particular to the reduction in the number of letters in the alphabet with the exclusion of the letter "g". How else can we explain the regular use of swimmin, divin, cyclin and runnin? It really is very annoyin.

Alan McGibbon, Paisley.