I HAVE written previously that the evidence is that the NHS in Scotland no longer provides an elective service “free at the point of need”, and now is indeed dead. The recent evidence from the Scottish Arthroplasty Project lends further support to that view.

It is clear that the SNP government lacks the intellectual capacity, drive and finances to reverse a decline which was evident long before Covid. By default they now acquiesce to the inevitable slow privatisation by default of elective surgery.

Where now the vociferous cries of “no privatisation” from Sturgeon, Whitford et al, which won them election?

The development of a European-style private/state mix of health care provision is inevitable, and should be welcomed. Partisan cries of a two-tier system, one for the rich and one for the poor, are anachronistic and defeatist.

Why should those who can afford private surgery, for the cost of a cruise, new car, or private education, not pay? This would leave room on waiting lists for those who legitimately cannot.

Notwithstanding the financial aspects, other limiting factors will be the lack of facilities, hospital beds, both NHS and private, the serious lack of staff. It will take many years to resolve these deficiencies.

On a personal note, as a retired orthopaedic surgeon I have every sympathy for those present surgical trainees, and support staff, who have been denied opportunities to train and gain vital experience over the last few years.

Such losses cannot be regained and will affect their productive capacities for years. Workload and throughput will never reach that of former generations, with permanent limitations on health care provision.

Gavin R Tait FRCSEd, East Kilbride.


RICHARD Allison’s letter (“Stone cannot be Charles’s destiny”, September 13) makes total sense. But why not take it a stage further: would a second, smaller, coronation, in Edinburgh, be too much to ask for?

This gesture would certainly demonstrate our new king’s love and respect for his northern kingdom.

It would also mean the stone remaining in Edinburgh, its rightful home.

Brian D. Henderson, Glasgow.


I DO hope that Ni Holmes is feeling a little better now after getting all that bile of his chest (letters, September 14). Whilst his comments were directed specifically at King Charles, the fact that they apply equally against the late Queen is thoughtless at this particular time.

I am no genealogist but I do consider Charles to be “one of us” as I recollect that his grandmother was of Scots birth, which makes him as Scottish as many who have been chosen to represent Scotland in various sports. In support of his view Ni Holmes likes to quote Burns; so may I in turn remember that Burns also penned “Charlie, He’s My Darling”.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop, Ayrshire.


YOU report that King Charles told the Scottish Parliament: “My mother felt, as I do, the greatest admiration for the Scottish people, for their magnificent achievements and for their indomitable spirit” (September 13).

Can you ever imagine a Scottish Labour or Tory politician ever saying such a positive thing about the Scottish people? Their daily mantra is the Scottish government is a failure and the Scots depend on hand-outs from English taxpayers.

Tom Johnston, Cumbernauld.


LIKE James Watson (letters, September 14) I am no royalist but I share his views on Patrick Harvie’s contribution to tributes to the Queen. It was an absolute disgrace and he should be sacked as a minister. I’ve voted Green on several occasions: I may not do so again.

For me, one of the Queen’s most memorable interventions during her long reign was just after the start of the first Covid lockdown.

Many people have been confused, anxious and depressed during the past two-and-a-half years; there is lots of evidence of increasing mental health issues caused by the pandemic. But her four simple words ‘we shall meet again’ and the tone in which she said it, I’m sure helped and reassured many people around the country. And they have proved to be true. Her experience of the Second World War, I’m sure, provided the basis of her thinking.

Willie Towers, Alford, Aberdeenshire.

* STEVEN Camley’s cartoon (September 14) summed him Harvie succinctly: a wee nyaff , a disgrace and an embarrassment to Scotland, and indeed, to Nicola Sturgeon. How can she continue to tolerate him?

Boyd Houston, Dollar.


AS a woman from northern England I wish to pay tribute to everyone in Scotland involved in the outstanding and smooth tribute given to the late Queen.The sheer, immaculately timed coverage of her cortege from Balmoral to Edinburgh was extremely well-organised by all concerned – the Royal Company of Archers, Scots Guards, and all the other military involved. It was remarkable, especially given that the Queen’s death was so unexpected.

W.M. Nealon, Bolton, Lancs.


A SCOTTISH independent MP, once an SNP MP, has been handed a a 270-hour community payback sentence for committing an offence which had the potential to endanger the lives of many innocent people who were not aware of the danger amongst them. This punishment in no way reflects the severity of the offence and I detect interference from high places. I wonder if Margaret Ferrier will ever be welcomed back to the SNP benches at Westminster.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth.


MARGARET Ferrier should do the decent thing and resign. No-one wants an MP who we cannot trust and who does not care about us. Thirty hours a month of community service over nine months is no punishment at all. The arguments made in court on her behalf were sickening.

Who would want her to work in their community? She should be made to work in an NHS hospital and see people gasping for breath – Covid is still around. She should meet families who are still grieving.

I obeyed the rules and did not see my brother in hospital, who did later die though not from Covid. We all obeyed the rules at great personal anguish for ourselves. We did the right thing. She did the selfish thing and did not care how much harm she did.

We in Rutherglen need an MP who works and cares for us and wants to do their best for us. We deserve far better than Margaret Ferrier and I hope she does receive a parliamentary 10-day suspension which can trigger a by-election.

Dorothy Connor, Rutherglen.


A REALITY check for the green apostles. On September 14, fossil fuels provided 61.0% and renewables 24.9% of our electricity. In the past week the respective figures were 63.7% and 21.3%; in the past month 58.5% and 24.0%; in the past year, 44.4% and 28.2%.

This poor performance is from over 11,000 UK wind turbines and numerous solar installations. Building new ones will never solve the problem. It is an irrefutable fact that due to the variability of the weather, wind and solar cannot, and never will, ensure security of supply for UK electrical energy. The UK will always need fossil-fuel backup and the quicker politicians and the green zealots recognise this, the better.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


DR Edwards (letters, September 13) might well confuse freckles with measles. Certainly he thinks that republicans are nationalists. He also confuses national grief with national unity.

If we were part of an equal union in which no one party or home nation could constantly outvote the others and ignore the wishes of these others, we would be pleased with our lot. Then in Scotland at least there would be little support for independence.

However, as the good doctor states, there is no wish for the majority of government in Westminster to make constitutional changes. Tory and Eton backgrounds always put the maintenance of power before equality.

J. B. Drummond, Kilmarnock.