HEARING Humza Yousaf say that things are going to get worse before they get better ("£300m winter care boost as NHS faces biggest challenge", The Herald, October 6) is frightening. I burned my elbow at the weekend and despite treating it myself, I felt it required medical attention. In previous years I would have attended my local GP practice and one of the nurses would have made sure it was clean and bandaged it. Job done. Not now.

The current system involves jumping through hoops while engaging as many staff as possible, which is such a waste. I dealt with a receptionist at my local practice who told me I would be triaged and asked for a photo, which I duly sent. I’m assuming someone with medical training looked at the photo before I got a call back two hours later telling me to phone 111 (not sure what happened to the triage). I called 111,where I gave all the details to one person, who then passed them on to a nurse. The person I was speaking to then told me someone would call me back within the next four hours to tell me what action would be taken. I got a call a few hours later from a doctor at our local hospital who gave me an A&E appointment (why are doctors giving appointments – what are the administrative staff doing?).

Once I got to A&E, I spoke to a receptionist there and was seen by what I assume was a senior nurse who then passed me to another nurse to treat the wound and bandage it. I was in and out within 10 minutes, unlike the other people sitting in the waiting room who hadn’t realised that you shouldn’t have emergencies if you haven’t got an appointment.

Eight people were involved in me getting treatment on what is a minor injury. That is six people too many in my opinion. What has happened to our NHS that I can’t attend my local surgery, speak to the receptionist and see a nurse to get a minor injury treated? I am not criticising the staff within the NHS. I am exasperated at the cumbersome and wasteful management. Any company working in this way would be out of business in a flash.

This is no way to run the NHS. How many elderly and vulnerable people would have just given up trying to get the help they needed, thinking they must be a burden to the NHS?

I fear for all those who end up needing treatment over winter as the NHS is leaving us out in the cold.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.


APROPOS the current and forthcoming disputes concerning ScotRail ("Transport minister calls for calm heads to resolve ScotRail dispute", The Herald, October 6) and thinking slightly ahead, what will the collective trade unions involved heap their opprobrium on come next April when the current bogeyman for all the current travails, real or perceived, has departed the scene? It will be the hapless Scottish Government body that will bear the brunt of any such angst.

No change there, I'm afraid. Disputes of their kind are as unchanging as the phases of the moon and have been for decades in the railway industry.

The disruption to Sunday services that has endured for six months or more now does not bode well for passenger usage when they are eventually restored.Whomsoever of the travelling public who have not had this facility may well now decide it has been too long without it and, frankly, not now needed.

The rail system in Scotland north of the central belt is sparse and some services exist, largely, because they are there and no one dares mention dispensing with them for any given reason. Having said that, sentiment alone will not be the salvation of any rail route or service in Scotland. Other pressures are already with us and increasingly so. Who is going to pay for what?

We are heading for turmoil and discord in this regard and the unions should step back and take heed. Do they and the staff they represent have a long-term future? Is a rail system assured for passengers (and freight) in Scotland?

John Macnab, Falkirk.


I WAS interested in Vicky Allan's column detailing forever chemicals ("Dark Water chemicals must be regulated", The Herald, October 4). This follows recent reports of guillemots being found dead on beaches after being killed by plastic, and starving birds swimming up rivers looking for food. When are we going to take the chemical industry to task? Are we going to allow the mega-rich global corporations to kill us off? Too many of our politicians are obviously making a fortune from their links with big business to care about what is happening to humans and wildlife to do anything to stop it.

Then critics complain about Greta Thunberg telling it like it is – "blah, blah, blah and no action". That is why young people are gluing themselves to roads, because they are sick of it, as am I. If COP26 doesn't change anything I might as well spend the rest of my life under the duvet.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


THE photograph of the crowds of shoppers in Glasgow's Argyle Street in 1980 ("Christmas shoppers out in force", The Herald, October 5) reminds me of a friend who was a trainee in Lewis's department store more than a few years ago.

During the hectic days in the run-up to Christmas, he looked down on the packed shop floor and, turning to the head of his department, remarked on how good business was. To which his boss replied: "But count the carrier bags."

During one of the country's several recessions, it was commented upon how many "customers" in London's fashionable Oxford Street were simply going through the motions of shopping, moving in and out of stores, without making any purchases.

Nearer Christmas, which seems to come around earlier each year, take a look, and count the carrier bags (although I guess online shopping may spoil the sport).

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.