I READ with considerable interest your article regarding the proposed building of a new hospital in Fort William ("Hill walker accidents are priority for new hospital", The Herald, May 310).

Living in Portree on Skye, one of the world's key tourist destinations, I have every sympathy with the residents of Fort William for the huge delays that they have had to endure in replacing the Belford hospital. At least the residents there should be grateful that NHS Highland did not decide to build the new hospital in the geographic centre of an artificially-created area designed to maximise the social costs to the local community.
That unfortunately is what has happened with the building of a new hospital on Skye, which was also mentioned in your article.

This new hospital has been built in Broadford which apparently is the geographical centre of Skye, Lochalsh, and South West Ross (SLSWR). In order to build it nearly all of the basic health facilities in Portree have been withdrawn. This withdrawal is having serious consequences since Portree is the only township and urban settlement in SLSWR, and one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations and it is also the main employment, sports and education centre, the main transport hub and cruise liner destination.

The social costs of this redesign are very considerable indeed for our community and these include key issues of public safety. Indeed, the redesign is in flagrant breach of the Scottish Government's own statutory guidelines as contained in the Scottish Capital Investment Manual (SCIM) which, in turn, is based on the Treasury’s Green Book.

To mitigate against this redesign the Scottish Government appointed Sir Lewis Ritchie in 2018 to address key issues of the redesign and his 49 recommendations included the re-establishment of 24/7 urgent care in Portree and a "rapid review" of community bed needs. That rapid review has still not taken place and there is now no longer an urgent care unit in Portree, despite NHS Highland signing a legally-binding commitment to the Ritchie report in their full business case with the Chair of NHS Scotland.

As of now the Ritchie report lies in tatters with senior NHS Highland staff publicly stating that they now have no commitment to the report. Unfortunately, there appears to be no willingness on the part of the Scottish Government to intervene in the dire situation that has been created here. It is for this reason that I have considerable sympathy for Fergus Ewing’s statement that we urgently need better political representation in our Highland communities ("SNP’S Ewing leads calls for ‘overlooked’ Highlands to get more seats in Parliament", The Herald, May 30).
Prof Ronald MacDonald, Portree.

Read more: Revive this hidden beauty under the Botanics

Pay homage to James Miller
I READ with great interest, a soupçon of sadness and a touch of pride, Mark Smith's opinion piece about the disused railway station under Glasgow's Botanic Gardens ("Revive this beauty under the Botanics", The Herald, June 2).

Interested because, several years ago, I also ventured to this abandoned, mysterious and strangely beautiful site and, in common with your columnist, I will never forget it.
I am also tinged with sadness because this station, like its long-gone counterpart along the line at Kelvinbridge, are lost examples of work by one of Scotland's greatest architects: James Miller.

Born the son of a farmer at Auchtergarven in Perthshire Miller left school and became apprenticed to a local architect. The rest, as they say, is history.
Hospitals were a speciality: Glasgow Royal, Perth Royal and Stirling Royal were all his designs.

Prestigious hotels were also part of his repertoire: think Turnberry, Peebles Hydro and Gleneagles.

Yet it is for his railway architecture that he is most famous. The quaint baronial-style building bang in the middle of Glasgow's St Enoch Square – originally part of the lost St Enoch railway station – is one of his. So are the pretty stations at Troon, Fort Matilda, West Kilbride and Rannoch.

His masterpiece, though, must surely be the station at Wemyss Bay, with its soaring and swooping, almost vaulted, glass roof, along with elegantly-crescented walkways and platforms. Little wonder then that just last month it was voted the best-loved train station in the UK ("Wemyss Bay crowned UK’s best-loved train station", The Herald, May 28).

Mr Smith is right – it would be a great day if trains were to run through this station again. But it would be even greater if we were to lovingly restore it to James Miller's original design. Let's pay a homage to one of Scotland's greatest sons.
Gordon Fisher, Stewarton.

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Overkill on Schofield
AM I alone in finding the coverage of the Philip Schofield story completely over the top and out of all proportion to the importance of the story?

The man lied and had an inappropriate but not illegal relationship with another man. I am sure he is not alone in taking part in such behaviour and that should be the end of story. But let’s just fuel the increasingly-vacuous celebrity culture in this country by focusing on Schofield.

A free press should focus on calling out, for example, corrupt and lying politicians and misogyny and racism in police forces. And in good news stories such as the development of medical breakthroughs or expressions of kindness in communities. Is social media responsible for this increase, as I see it, in mindless gossip about very little?
Willie Towers, Alford.

IT chaos at the supermarket
WITH reference to David Miller's somewhat-condescending letter of June 2, I share some of Amanda Baker's dissatisfaction with modern life (Letters, June 1).

Our regular shopping visit to Waitrose the other day was blighted with IT problems, resulting in scarce products, empty shelves and a new convoluted self-checkout process.
Allan McDougall, Neilston.

Music to blow the mind
IN my advanced years, marbles jigging away nicely, old favourites on the trusty keyboard or on the cerebral jukebox most days, I have no issue with Tony Christie’s advice that music may be part of the remedy to dementia ("Christie’s message to fellow dementia sufferers: ‘Keep playing the music’", The Herald, June 2).

However, on the flip side, am I alone and just an old party pooper to observe that I sometimes wonder if what passes for current trendy music, too often tuneless and repetitive, could in the long term lead to neurocognitive disorder?
R Russell Smith, Largs.