EUGENE Cairns (Herald Letters, May 6) feels that a fitting tribute to our NHS heroes would be to name hospitals and wards after those who have died in our service during the pandemic crisis.

Can I suggest their memories would be better served by securing for their surviving colleagues a long-overdue wage rise and a decent salary, and ensuring that when the next pandemic comes along they are not failed by an incompetent government? A government which cannot provide vital protective equipment and testing, especially in hospitals, care homes and airports.

Of course, those who have lost their lives should be remembered, and I foresee plaques at hospital receptions and care homes honouring the dead, and that will be great, but let’s also look forward.

When the Covid-19 crisis is over, and the Thursday clapping is no more, we must make sure the government recognises how slow it was to react, how unprepared it was for this pandemic despite the warnings, and how it chose to put profits before people’s lives.

Now, we are all paying the price. I suspect the privileged members of the UK cabinet have short memories and will not have suffered too much, apart from the odd reprimand for visiting their country retreat.

But we, the ordinary members of the public, have a duty not to let them forget, and to continue to press for an end to some of the obscene inequalities in our society.

Those on the frontline of coronavirus deserve better than to be clapped now but clapped out tomorrow.

Andy Stenton,


MR Cairns’s idea is one that deserves further study.

It is tragic that health-service personnel should have given their lives while trying to save the lives of ordinary people.

Naming new wards or units after these heroes would be a fitting means of commemorating them.

One day, however, the government will surely be held to account for its perceived failure to adequately address the issue of personal protective equipment for NHS staff and for staff in care homes.

T. Barry, Glasgow.

I CANNOT agree with Eugene Cairns that naming wards after health workers who have died is a fitting tribute to those working in the NHS.

A more fitting tribute would be to ensure that the survivors all have a salary commensurate with their skills and experience.

This might ensure the end of the nonsense of Trusts having to employ agency nurses who earn much more than their NHS counterparts, but who are the only people available to fill empty posts.

It should, of course, apply to all who work in the NHS, not just clinical staff. It would also put an end to Tory MPs laughing, as they did when they rejected the last proposal for a pay rise for nurses.

John N E Rankin,

Bridge of Allan,


LET'S not clap for the NHS – rather, let’s demand that it is staffed and funded properly.

The NHS was created in 1948 and has struggled for decades trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot. It is chronically underfunded and understaffed.

How can it be, in a country that has been churning out doctors for centuries and has university hospitals all over the place, that 30 per cent of NHS doctors were trained by other countries?

Why is it that 16 per cent of all NHS staff in the UK are foreign nationals? Why is it that our universities and colleges turn away perfectly suitable applicants for medical courses because of lack of capacity to train them and lack of financial support for students, particularly nurses, while training?

That is why we have waiting lists, delays and rationing of treatment; it doesn’t have to be this way.

One would have hoped, given it is more than 70 years since its conception, that the supply and demand for NHS staff could have been reconciled by now.

But no: we have a public health service deliberately kept under-resourced simply because those in control have the option of using the private sector as and when they need to.

Have you ever heard of the private medical sector complaining of lack of resources? No, neither have I. Have you heard of the private sector training their own doctors and nurses? No, neither have I.

To be asked to clap for NHS heroes simply adds insult to injury, this is our NHS not the government’s and we have to stop sitting on our hands while they follow instructions from vested interests and destroy it.

David J Crawford,


AFTER watching the latest Panorama programme there is no longer a hiding place for this Government. This programme has at last shown the truth of how the people of this country were and are being failed.

The idea that this Government downgraded Covid-19, did not order gowns nor visors or body bags, and counted single gloves to increase the numbers of items of P.P.E. are just some of the points aired on the programme.

These points do not even touch on their failure to act when they should have, therefore putting everyone at serious risk of contacting Covid-19.

Their repeated failure to protect the residents of care homes and their carers is still growing, this in itself is criminal.

I cannot believe the lack of anger coming from the population at large. I never understood applauding the health service workers and then sending them back to face the same life-threatening situation. All this did was to mask the real problems they were facing.

I am a retired health and safety adviser and if I ordered inadequate P.P.E. and recommended workers to go into life-threatening situations without proper protection I would expect to be prosecuted, and rightly so.

I await with interest to see what happens.

Michael Tolland, Glasgow.