SHOULD NHS Scotland lead the way again and encourage General Practitioners to get back to their surgeries to see patients as they used to?

I suspect it would shorten waiting lists and waiting times at hospital A&E departments and over-reliance on stand-by telephone services.

GPs and their staff could wear similar protective gear as their hospital colleagues and patients could be asked do a lateral flow test and make sure it was negative before they entered the doctor’s waiting room. If it were positive, patients would follow the appropriate instructions which would allow those with acute conditions requiring urgent hospital treatment in addition to Covid, to by-pass the GP surgery and access advice as quickly and safely as possible.

Hanging on to an unanswered phone does force anxious patients to call for an ambulance or just turn up at the nearest A&E. However, many would prefer immediate advice from their GP surgery or an appointment as they used to. It would clear the lines for people with seriously acute conditions to access the emergency services without delay.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.


I WAS delighted to see your article regarding the Royal College of GPs supporting buffer zones ("GPs back plans to bring in buffer zones outside abortion facilities", The Herald, July 16). GPs know that medical professionals are the ones who should give care and advice to pregnant people, not unqualified protesters with a clear anti-choice agenda. While it is good news that some local authorities are looking at by-laws to prevent clinic harassment, I completely agree with the GPs that the most effective solution to this problem is national legislation.

Although buffer zones are undoubtedly a good thing for any local hospital, all women in Scotland deserve to access health care safely without fear of harassment and this must not be a postcode lottery. Breaking a local buffer zone by law could result in a fine, but when many of these protesters are affiliated with well-funded American organisations (for example, 40 Days for Life) this is no real deterrent. We need the tougher deterrents that national legislation could bring. Attempting to prevent potentially abused and vulnerable people from accessing essential healthcare is a very serious matter and should be treated as such.

I hope to see many more local authorities use legal powers to protect hospital patients, but I further hope people remember to complete the Government’s public consultation to show how much public support there is to end clinic harassment. Let this abhorrent misogynistic practice remain in the American Bible Belt; it has no place in enlightened countries like Scotland.

Gemma Clark, Johnstone.


THE imposition of water restrictions is on the horizon. When we recycle household plastics like plastic bottles and tubs we are told they are to be rinsed before going in the bin. The British Plastics Federation estimates that 46 per cent of plastic waste is incinerated, 17% goes to landfill, 10% is recycled in the U.K. and 19% is shipped abroad allegedly for recycling. What is the point of using precious water to rinse plastics when only 10% of it is recycled here? The system needs to be improved quickly.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.


ROBIN Dow's implication (Letters, July 18) that orchestral players using earplugs are, though he didn't actually use the term, “snowflakes”, is lamentable. Many musicians experience the anxiety of hearing loss as a result of their working conditions in orchestras and studios. Previous generations largely kept silent about such concerns, for fear of being shunned professionally. Many retired prematurely, particularly wind players, as their intonation deteriorated due to the loss of the high frequency components of the sounds they and others around them were generating.

In recent times the stigma has to an extent been lifted, not least due to the work of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine and the magnificent Musicians Hearing Service, to whom I owe an immense personal debt of gratitude. Most of all, the musicians themselves with the assistance of the Musicians Union and The Ivors Academy, have taken the initiative in campaigning for their work spaces to be made safer, through the deployment of sound baffles, better spacing and, yes … earplugs.

Emeritus Prof William Sweeney, Glasgow.


IN her attempt to prove that "living with Covid" isn't really working, Helen McArdle ("BA.5 shows that Covid is ‘not over’ – and we need a Plan B", The Herald, July 16) quotes Professor Rowland Kao, whose statement includes the phrase " a substantial but relatively low level of infections".

Substantial? Low level? The word "oxymoron" comes to mind.

David Miller, Milngavie.


PERHAPS a sports psychologist or an expert in behavioural disorders could advise on what the handful of spectator bampots, fortunately very many fewer in the UK than in the US, gain from their raucously inane “In the hole” encouragement which accompanies every drive at major golfing events, even when the desired relocation of the ball is not remotely possible without divine intervention.

Is one solution detoxification in a sound-proofed room with golfing video and a background of “Good shot”, “Well done”?

Even an “All together now” “Gaun yersel”, would be preferable, and accepted as a foreign language to the wider viewing public.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


I AM enjoying your correspondents' memories of granny weather observations (Letters, July 18). My mother used "stair rods" too – but one of the most surreal things she used to say in heavy rain was "Just look at it – it's no' taking time to come doon."

Hugh Steele, Cumbernauld.


YOUR picture of sunbathers on the beach in Margate ("Scots warned to avoid physical exertion as heatwave arrives", The Herald, July 18) left me wondering how many will turn up at A&E or their GP due to overdoing it in the sun. My father, a GP in the 1960s, used to dread sunny weekends and would say: "It’s your own fault. Calamine lotion and stay out of the sun”. I’m sure your correspondent R Russell Smith, a retired GP, would agree.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.