WHILE I echo calls for NHS managers to be held to account and sanctioned for errors and negligence, as are medics and nurses ("Letby: police urged to probe whether hospital bosses were guilty of corporate manslaughter in baby deaths", The Herald, August 21), politicians cannot escape culpability for the past and present actions of managers. NHS managers are under constant political pressure from the centre to match targets and gloss over failings, or they lose promotion prospects, but rarely their jobs. Consequently they pass that pressure downwards to clinical staff to toe the line and keep quiet. Mess runs downhill.

The evidence from Countess of Chester, which can be matched in Scotland, is that senior clinicians are considered a nuisance to be controlled, ignored or often victimised as whistleblowers. Human Resource departments rarely support claims of observed poor or dangerous practice and, as in the case with Lucy Letby, harass the whistleblowers. Sometimes they are aided by powerful unions supporting their member, as did the RCN for Letby.

Having clinicians who identified a serial killer apologise to her was unconscionable. The effect on the mental health of the consultants can only be imagined.

The GMC is clear that if a doctor witnesses bad or dangerous practice or behaviour in another, and fails to report it, then that doctor is held equally culpable and can be equally sanctioned.

It is time NHS managers are held to the same standards by an independent agency and are sanctioned by loss of career if culpable of gross misconduct, as is clear should be the case with Letby. No longer should failed managers be promoted out of trouble.

There are many excellent managers in the NHS who must be horrified as to the lack of action of the Chester group, and I hope would echo calls for greater regulation of their profession.

But never forget my first point, that politicians lead and if they do not take responsibility no one will. It is too late having a change of heart when out of office, when one lacked courage to act when in charge.

Gavin R Tait FRCSEd, Retired Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, East Kilbride.

Read more: Housing market odds are stacked higher against the young and the poor

School bosses let our children down

I FULLY agree with the sentiments expressed by the writer of your Secret Teacher blog ("‘I was trying to challenge an impossible authoritarian culture’", The Herald, August 21) regarding the lack of intellectual competence in decision-making by school management.

The management in some schools is barely visible. Gone are the days when the Headie walked the corridors and actively engaged in controlling and disciplining pupils. Nowadays every incident has to be written up on forms which imply that somehow the teacher is to blame, not the pupil. There is also a culture of blame regarding exam results; again teacher blaming rather than addressing issues like class size, resources, pupil indiscipline, timetable management, absences, lack of parental control.

I would suggest that the call for closer scrutiny of the management in the Lucy Letby case is something that could equally apply to management in schools. Too many promoted posts have gone to those who could spout the Curriculum of Excellence jargon to fit a political agenda, rather than to people of vision and thorough competence in the classroom. Management does not have the autonomy now to do what is best for their schools, nor do they seem to have the will. It is thoroughly demoralising for all concerned.

A whole generation of children are being denied the opportunity of a safe, challenging, forward-thinking education conducted in a place where authority is recognised. It is too easy for management to keep kicking the problems down a road of paper trails rather than taking prompt, decisive action. It is too easy to spout trendy, trauma theories with no practical action. No wonder more and more serious incidents are occurring; more and more children are not attending; more and more dumbing down has to be employed to disguise the decline in standards and fewer people want to teach.

Hazel Archibald, Kelty.

Not out of touch, but sensible

PATRICK Harvie accuses over-65s of being out of touch ("Patrick Harvie’s wrong to say over-65s are out of touch on climate issues", The Herald, August 22). I am beyond that marker and yet managed to muster sufficient interest to look up the Scottish website on installing heat pumps, which is sadly lacking in technical info.

I understand my house to be suitable, having put in insulation, and put in my information for what I’m sure is an approximate cost indicator. For an investment of £10,000 for an air source heat pump, my fuel bills would currently go up £100 a year. For an investment of £20,000 for a ground source heat pump my fuel bills would go down £100 a year. (I don’t know if there was a grant included.) Call me out of touch but that doesn’t make a lot of sense to this old codger.

Similarly, I recently changed my car. On reviewing what I considered suitable, I decided I didn’t wish to invest upwards of £50,000 especially when the governments, both of them, are behind on charging points and don’t have an energy strategy worthy of the name and cannot hold up their end of the bargain.

Many over (and under) 65s can’t afford what Patrick Harvie offers. Those who can don’t wish to when the return is so meagre that they won’t see any benefit in their lifetime. They have other worthy issues.

Angus MacEachran, Aberdeen.

Ensuring Taggart was spot on

IT is hard to believe that it is 40 years since Taggart hit our TV screens ("Nobody move, we need an archive as public urged to share Taggart stories", The Herald, August 23). In the early days the production team worked closely with Strathclyde Police. I worked with the force's Information Office, and scripts would be checked to ensure that they were procedurally correct and, on many occasions, when you saw police motorcyclists it was, in fact, the real deal as we would "arrange" a patrol to pass the filming site. I did though have some explaining to do when the police helicopter featured prominently at a murder scene at a Clydeside scrapyard.

Blythe Duff’s character, Jackie Reid, was originally going to have another name but, on checking, it was found that there was a serving officer of that name.

Stewart Daniels, Cairneyhill.