I HAVE been reading your three-day series on the future of general practice with considerable interest ("General practice in crisis", The Herald, March 13, 14 & 15), and note that the proposed solutions often include more staff/money.

On July 12, 1974, I was one of 77 who proudly stepped across the stage of Dundee's Caird Hall to receive our qualifying medical degrees. Around midsummer, you publish lists of names of those who are graduating from Scotland's universities.

In 2022, I counted 165 Dundee medical graduates. On top of that, there were another 44 who qualified from St Andrews, under its Graduate Entry scheme. I presume that other Scottish and UK medical schools have similar increases in productivity, but the cry goes out for the recruitment of even more medical students.

Tuesday's Herald tackled the topic of the ingress of (usually) American companies into Scottish healthcare, and general practice in particular ("The doctor can see you now... for £250", The Herald, March 14). A list of the costs of consultations by various commercial providers was given, but it would be interesting to know the comparable cost of a standard 10-minute GP consultation under the NHS. From my dealings on the receiving end of NHS Scotland, all I know is that, if I miss an appointment for immunisation, an electrocardiogram or a consultation, an average missed appointment costs £135.

Before demonising these companies, it would be important to know how satisfied their customers were, and what sort of case mix they were seeing.

It's important to remember that the much-lauded traditional GP practice is usually a partnership, in which the doctors are paid fees for services to the NHS or other state or private sector organisations, and the partners share the profits. Many other healthcare providers, such as pharmacists, dentists and opticians, work on a similar basis.

Having worked for US companies, I can appreciate why some people may have concerns, but one only has to look across the Channel to see that there are a number of models of service provision which might be usefully explored and I wonder why this has not been considered.
Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot

Stop taking the Tory bait

AS the dust settles from the BBC's latest wilful submission to Government pressure, I find myself laughing somewhat at the complete success of the latest cover-operation deployed by the Conservatives. Like the Johnson administration before it, the Sunak operation has successfully utilised the prized "dead cat" policy to distract from the utterly shameless display of bigotry and xenophobia that is the Illegal Migration Bill (IMB).

Whilst the red-tops (and some broadsheets) still try to rally the public against Gary Lineker, on Monday night, the Government forced its IMB through a second reading in the Commons (I hadn't even seen a report on the first reading vote). Meanwhile, no one seems to have reported this undermining of public accountability. The most this paper managed was a single, inconspicuous column ("Scots must resist this cruel bill", The Herald, March 14). Admittedly, it was a rather late vote.

What has shocked me though, was the BBC's coverage, which consisted of only one article, published late at night. Meanwhile, it continued to pump out Lineker coverage and commentary on the US, UK and Australia submarine deal. For a bill which poses a serious threat to our global standing and international obligations, I would assume the collective media (let alone the national broadcaster) might consider properly holding His Majesty's Government to account. Instead, we are stuck with the latest Gary-gossip.

Like the Titanic, the SS Britain is slowly being flooded from the starboard (right) side. We've been through the first hour, with collective denial and cognitive dissonance. Now we are beginning to notice the water slowly rising up the staircase and it seems too late.

The sensible media must stop taking the Government's bait and properly start holding it to account. Otherwise, like the fateful ship, our nation will be split in two (literally and figuratively). It is time for journalists to wake up, smell the pile of cat corpses on the dining table and divert their attention to the stories which actually matter.
Hugh Mulvihill, Edinburgh

• GARY Lineker was banned for criticising the Government’s immigration policy as it breaches the standards of an organisation whose head is an appointee of the Government he has criticised. Does this not reek of hypocrisy? As to comments by the Home Secretary about the Holocaust, she cannot be so historically ignorant as to realise that Lineker was referring to the type of language used in Germany in the early thirties, that prepared the public for the later atrocities.

Her policy punishes the victims not the traffickers, who will simply ignore the welfare of the asylum seekers for their own profit. Perhaps she should be giving more of her attention to taking action against them rather than fretting over comments, historically valid as it happens, about her blinkered policies.
TJ Dowds, Cumbernauld

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Stop the wind farm change

VICKY Allan’s timely article urges us “not to beat about the Caledonian bush” and watch the “sixth” Wild Isles documentary ("BBC must put the ‘sixth episode’ of Wild Isles on TV – despite what Tories will say", The Herald, March 14).

During the series of BBC documentaries experts tell us that the UK is one of most nature-depleted nations in the world.

We now also know that wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds, bats, insects, and now sea life, across the world, driving some to the point of extinction.

Perhaps those very same experts could tell us how nature and biodiversity will be protected and enhanced when, as long ago as 2009, Cambridge physicist David MacKay warned that providing all of the UK’s energy with 100% renewables would require industrialising a greater area than the landmass of the entire country.
George Herraghty, Elgin

Parliamo Latin

STANLEY Baxter discovered Latin was spoken widely in Glasgow when he asked a Maryhill man how to get to Glasgow Central.

"Gerrabus. Noratbus, annurabus. Eribus," he was told.
Bill Nicol, Elderslie

Read more letters: The frightening shortage of GPs is down to the SNP's failure to plan


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