REGARDING the NHS, your Letters Pages are filled with accusation of blame, and inevitably constitutional arguments, but rarely if ever solutions.

Can I suggest firstly that all Barnett health money is spent on the NHS, allowing attractive salaries to be paid to all, starting with the lowest-paid, especially in the care sector. Senior staff are well paid and need no boost.

Medical student intake should be increased by 50 per cent and any qualified Scottish applicant admitted and paid for. Nurse training numbers should increase and a non-degree band reintroduced.

Salaried GPs should replace partnerships and be housed in new-build community hubs, even “cottage hospitals”, with on-site CT and MRI scanners. Reporting can be online as at present. Waiting for scans and results, although 90 per cent may be normal, is a major source of patient anxiety. Communication with patients must embrace the 21st century: email, texting, WhatsApp. Pharmacists should be empowered to prescribe independently. Sports clubs, gyms and physiotherapist should be encouraged to develop fitness regimes for all: prehabilitation.

A personal digital health card is needed, as in Denmark and elsewhere. Why should they only be available to elite sportsmen and women?

Why not negotiate with commercial companies like Premier Inns or Travelodge to build and staff short-stay convalescent units? The principle was accepted for new acute hospitals. More controversially, make healthcare insurance fees tax-deductible. The Scottish Government has that power. It is not immoral.

Lastly, the development of stand-alone elective surgical hubs needs to be accelerated. The present pace is glacial. Freed of acute care responsibilities senior surgeons might postpone retiral; after all, most love to operate. Present suspension of elective surgery is de-skilling and demotivating, which will be hard to reverse. And sort their pensions.

Only a few suggestions but can someone start the conversation please?

A Royal Commission is needed but unlikely with our present leaders. At least in England, with which Nicola Sturgeon regularly compares us, the conversation has been started by Labour.
Gavin R Tait FRCSEd, East Kilbride

• AS I understand it, bed blocking is part of the problem contributing to the current NHS crisis. Surely one way to help resolve this is for more money and resources to be put into domiciliary care services so that person-centred care packages can be provided speedily and efficiently.
Cathy Baird, Dunipace

The farce that is Cyprus

TUCKED away in a corner of today’s paper is an article about Princess Anne visiting UK troops serving as part of UN “peacekeepers” in Cyprus ("Princess Royal on visit to British peacekeepers on isle of Cyprus", The Herald, January 12). Is it not ludicrous that the UN has to man a buffer zone to stop allies from fighting each other?

The reality is that two countries, Greece and Turkey, both founding members of Nato, are constantly at each other’s throats over who owns what in the Aegean and their confrontation in Cyprus is just part of a greater scenario. Both countries are currently ramping up their military capacity, which some in the know interpret as the precursor to inevitable serious military confrontation. Open conflict between the two countries would pose Nato a problem in as much as what does an organisation specifically created to protect member countries against aggression do when members wage war on each other? Does it choose sides or ignore its raison d’etre and allow innocent civilians to die?

The only certainties are that the “military industrial complex” that manipulates Nato will profit from whatever happens just as it is doing from the current war in Ukraine and that we will find another sunny place for Princess Anne to visit.
David J Crawford, Glasgow

Apprentices are sorely needed

IT was 2019 when the St Rollox Works in Springburn was shut down amid calls from unions and politicians to keep it viable. At its peak it employed 3,000 workers and supported a network of smaller but no less important industries.

Fifteen years ago John Brown's closed down, making 8,000 workers redundant.

These were just two large industries employing highly-skilled workers who found themselves at the JobCentre.

It's a sad state of affairs that these industries have died and also sad that the workforce has gone.

We need to recruit apprentices for these lost skills and hopefully we can again resurrect these industries and rejuvenate Scotland, saving us the embarrassment of getting our ferries built in Turkey and our trains being built in France.
Neil Stewart, Balfron

Safety first on checking in

THE result of the inquiry into the fire at Cameron House ("‘Number of defects’ contributed to tragic Cameron House blaze", The Herald, January 12) takes me back to the 1970s when I used to go to conferences with a hospital fire master. His habit was always the same. As soon as he had deposited his bag in the room, he checked the fire exit route and procedures. The habit has stayed with me, having heard his reasons – arising from his experiences of fire disasters.
James Watson, Dunbar

Anne would have sorted Harry

I CANNOT help but feel that had Prince Harry, with all his self-pity and whingeing, refrained from visiting his therapist and instead sought counsel with his aunt, the Princess Royal, he would be in a much better mental shape today.

One suspects that she wouldn't verbally miss him and hit the wall.
Bill Rutherford, Galashiels

Seat of learning

R RUSSELL Smith's story about corporal punishment in school (Letters, January 12) reminded me of an incident in my school days. Miss M, a diminutive lady of barely five feet (I won't name her in case she has lived to over 100) called big John, a teenage six-footer, to the front for the belt with the instruction to "bring that chair with you". There was a ripple of laughter when the class thought that she intended to stand on it to administer the punishment. We were somewhat deflated when she made John sit on it. Happy days.
Andy Mitchell, Prestwick


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