THE frightening shortage of primary care GPs in Scotland ("The doctor can’t see you now", The Herald March 13) is the sole responsibility of the SNP administration. Since 2007 successive health secretaries, including Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, have failed to plan adequately to avoid the present crisis.

Currently in Scottish university medical schools only 55 per cent of students were domiciled in Scotland when they applied for places. This has been nationalist policy for a long time. The great majority of Scotland-based medical students are likely to remain in Scotland when they complete their training. The other 45% will go elsewhere.

Additionally, the crippling shortages of nurses and consultants are compounded by the ineptitude of a 15-year nationalist regime.

The deplorable performance of the SNP on health has a disproportionate affect on the vulnerable, the old, children and the poorest in society.

It’s astonishing that the candidates to replace the outgoing First Minister are the current incompetent Health Secretary, the inept Finance Secretary and someone else.

More money from the annual £15-£36 billion fiscal transfer from Westminster should be invested in health care and particularly in training more doctors for Scottish general practices.

Perhaps it’s not a change of First Minister that is required but a change of government.
James Quinn, Lanark

Don't fall for the inflation con

AFTER the lie of privatisation which we were told would provide efficiency savings and reduce the cost of our utilities, including our fuel costs, get ready for the misleading falling annual inflation rate.

The current inflation rate of 10.1 per cent is based on the cost of commodities a year ago against the present cost.

The cost of fuel and other commodities affected by energy costs rose sharply about a year ago; however over the next few months the rapid increase in prices that this inflation rate is based on will drop out of the calculation and the annual inflation rate will fall, possibly back below 2% well before the next General Election and possibly even before the next annual Conservative conference.

This will be claimed as a great success of Government policy but no mention will be made of the fact that we are all paying 10% more than we were a year ago plus the reduced annual inflation rate.

We should not be conned into believing that the costs are only up by 2% but should remember that they are 12% higher than they were at this time last year.
Iain McIntyre, Sauchie

Don't let them trash bus pass system

WHAT a sad state of affairs that Saturday's front page was complaining about the young persons' bus pass scheme ("Free bus pass for young ‘fuelling rise in disorder’", The Herald, March 11). It's the poor behaviour of some young people that is the concern and it's that behaviour that needs to be addressed. People who behave badly at football matches get banned from the ground, so we could have a similar system for bus pass holders.

If we allow the concern about bad behaviour to be the over-riding factor, then we might ignore the positive benefits of extending free bus travel.

Many of us benefit from free bus travel when we are over 60 and are aware of the freedom this brings – the freedom to get out of the house, meet people and see more of Scotland. Young people are now learning the benefits of travelling on buses, rather than in cars, and mixing with the rest of the community. They need to learn the responsibility this brings

What is required, though, is increased vigilance on behalf of the authorities, be it more staff on our buses, and trains, at bus and train stations and in our shopping centres, and generally, more police officers and better use of CCTV.

If we don't provide that and we allow bad behaviour to take place unchallenged then our public transport will go the way of public toilets – closed to all because of the poor behaviour of a few.
Patricia Fort, Glasgow

Been there, done that

ALAN Fitzpatrick (Letters, March 13) suggests that the council tax system might be modified in such a way that charges are based on the number of occupants per household. Such a system already existed but proved so unpopular that it was discontinued four years after it started.

It was called the Community Charge, more commonly known as the poll tax.
David Clark, Tarbolton

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There is hope in hydrogen

I NOTE the statement by DB Watson (Letters, March 11) that “hydrogen does not exist to any useful extent in free form on Earth”. However, he and your other readers may be interested to know that an article in the journal Science last month described the discovery of large underground reserves of hydrogen in Mali as “vivid evidence that ... contrary to conventional wisdom, large stores of natural hydrogen may exist all over the world”.

Indeed, according to a US Geological Survey model presented to the Geological Society of America in October 2022, “there might be enough natural hydrogen to meet burgeoning global demand for thousands of years”. The article admits that it is still early days for natural hydrogen, but then it was early days for oil when the first underground deposits were discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859, but look what’s happened since then.
David A Collins, Cupar

Bearing witness to a gaffe

R RUSSELL Smith's letter (March 11) about "cojones" and his problem with "testimonials" reminded me of an embarrassing experience I had in Latin class in the 1950s (a time of greater innocence). In an ink exercise we had to translate a sentence with the word "testis" in it. I looked up my basic little dictionary and found two meanings; one was "testicle" and the other was "witness". The latter didn't seem to make sense in the sentence, so not knowing what "testicle" meant I opted for that.

When the jotters were handed back I had mine flung at me by an angry Mr Bremner who thought I was trying to be funny. I then looked up "testicle" in the English dictionary and proceeded to scrub my jotter with an ink rubber till I nearly had a hole in the page.
Nita Marr, Longniddry

• HONI soit qui mal y pense?

The translation of the Garter motto when I was at Hutchie was “Honestly I think I’m going to be sick".
Gordon Casely, Crathes

Read more letters: Scottish GPs at 'tipping point' as patient numbers rise dramatically


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