WHEN the NHS rolled out Covid appointments, it did it by mail and there were no problems. However, the census forms were not issued in full by post and delays resulted. Was a lesson learned? Not everyone has online equipment and some areas cannot get broadband anyway, so why was a simple mailing system not adopted?

A reliance on computers and the internet may speed up commercial operations (and reduce staffing, wages and so on) but it must have a fall-back system in the event of outages, incomplete coverage or even errors.

The first thing I see inside my bank is a row of self-service units just like a Las Vegas group of slot machines. They do not always accept cheques, invoices and the like, so the next stop is a queue to a teller. One day the whole system went down so, irrespective of my balance, I could only withdraw £100 on presentation of my credit card. There is no fall-back system in place.

On the BBC programme Rip-Off Britain earlier this week there were examples of erroneous transfers of power contracts and one breach of data protection. These were caused by computer operator error when a one-digit or button error resulted in costs to customers. In a system designed to reduce staffing, a supervisory/approval safeguard was omitted. This unfortunately is now the business norm.

The internet procedures have also bred advances in criminality as well as new ways of making business mistakes. Scams occur too regularly. The internet requires reorganisation, regulation and policing. If necessary we must reintroduce more paper, print and postage.

Likewise our business practices – especially our banks – should look at more hard copy records and simple arithmetic for when the lights go out, even if it means more staffing. What happened to this profession which once provided a reasonably fast, safe and efficient service (not to mention at convenient locations)? Now that Covid restrictions are easing can we hope for more cash transactions and the suspension of bank branch closures?

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.


I NOTE, somewhat despairingly, that the danger from tick bites leading to Lyme disease and its consequences is still lacking in general recognition by the NHS ("NHS ticks advice is missing the mark say Lyme disease patients", The Herald, May 3) with comments by sufferers totally apposite.

This is despite it being 10 years since this was first raised in The Herald ("Scottish sufferer in Lyme disease Whitehall protest", May 10, 2013 and Letters, May 11 and 13, 2013). I myself wrote as regards my late wife, who was told by a hospital specialist that her arthritis was the likely result of being bitten by a tick whilst holidaying in the Western Isles. He warned this was only one symptom and could lead to other developments which, sadly, it did.

Whether climate change is increasing the risk of such bites is debatable but the self-same specialist told of it originating in a town in Connecticut, USA, that gave its name to this condition. Therefore one suspects it has been around for some time.

John Macnab, Falkirk.


THE wearing of masks is still being promoted by some despite the mandates being dropped (Letters, May 3 & 4). An interesting old news item recently came to my attention.

In New South Wales in 2003 the Fair Trade Minister threatened fines of up to $110,000 against any retailer that promoted unrealistic protection claims for masks against the then SARS outbreak. The minister's action was based on a study from the Department of Infectious Diseases in Sydney which found that in as little as 15 minutes masks became useless, as they were saturated with moisture from a person's breath.

How politics change.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


RAB McNeil ("Will Trump return to Twitter? I don’t know and I don’t care", Herald Magazine, April 30) states that regarding the altering of language, some of which he approves of, he does not like being told what to say. He would rebel at being bullied into replacing ''housewife" with the term "stay at home spouse". At least the term "midwife" can stay, as it literally means "with woman" and does not reflect the gender of the birth assistant. As a former midwife and currently a housewife I can identify with both of those terms.

Mr McNeil can comply with using "humanity" in place of the word "mankind". I am waiting for "manhole" cover to become "person-cover", or "manhandled" to become "person-handled".

When I received my university degree, despite being a female I became a "bachelor" and were I to pursue further studies, I could receive a "masters". I would be surprised if feminists were not rebelling at such archaic male-dominated language and others would be preferring a gender-neutral term.

As for me I care not a jot.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.


YOUR Picture of the Day on Tuesday (May 3) was a view of Loch Katrine, which has been supplying water to Glasgow since 1856, when it was turned on by Queen Victoria.

That only happened after years of discussions by Glasgow Corporation, when the proposal by Lord Provost Robert Stewart of Murdostoun met furious opposition.

In a memoir describing the difficulties he encountered, his daughter-in-law Alice quoted an account in the Glasgow Herald of the opening ceremony, which she said gave a strange glimpse of those days: ''After the departure of the Queen from Loch Katrine the company lost no time in proceeding homewards, but the arrangements were so faulty and the difficulties of travel so great, that vast numbers were benighted in the Trossachs, and there is reason to fear that many delicate constitutions will imbibe the seeds of fatal disease from the trial to which they were exposed.''

It is to be hoped that the climbers on Ben An in your caption were not exposed to similar hazards.

Aileen McCulloch, Lanark.