AUDIT Scotland's assessment that the NHS in Scotland is unsustainable in its current form has been voiced for years, yet successive health secretaries have failed to grasp the problem and kicked the can down the road. It now seems that the Government's ability to evade tackling the issue has been called into question by the watchdog and senior doctors.

The NHS structure may have been right for the late 1940s with the guarantee of the health service being free to everyone at the point of access. That can obviously be no longer valid with staffing shortages, an older population, expensive drugs and a perception that the health service focuses more on its bureaucracy than front line services. Reform and better funding must be considered with the possibility of more financial contributions from government or better-off patients being part of the equation.

Health Secretary Neil Gray's continued assertion that the health service should remain free at the point of delivery might not achieve the improvement necessary to bring about its long-term stability.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.

Cameron has big questions to answer

RISHI Sunak's decision-making record has always been a suspect.

Bringing back David Cameron,the man responsible for a catastrophic Brexit through his complacency that a referendum on the EU would see the Eurosceptics in his party off, was one that had people scratching their heads.

Now there has popped up in the media a story that Lord Cameron's Cabinet was aware that the Post Office had set up an investigation through Deloitte to investigate discrepancies in postmasters' accounts arising as a result of the Horizon program.

It seems to have been coming to the conclusion that an outside remote agency was interfering with the accounts of postmasters. Then for no apparent reason the investigation was terminated without explanation.

From that moment on the unacceptable trials and torments of postmasters amounted to persecution of innocent persons.

We have to wonder why Lord Cameron did not try to get to the bottom of this termination by setting up a robust internal inquiry into what prompted the departure of Deloitte from its investigation.

Was this just another example of Lord Cameron's complacency, taking at face value whatever story he was told without initiating a robust probe into the goings-on in relation to the Horizon program?

Lord Cameron should be brought before the relevant parliamentary committee to explain what he knew, what steps he took to inquire into the situation and what discussions he had with the minister with oversight into Post Office affairs over this strange interlude.

There surely must be an in-depth exploration of this issue which has ended so badly for those wrongly suspected of, and convicted for, embezzlement.

Lord Cameron has been shown once more to be at the centre of a totally avoidable situation, giving rise to the suspicion that complacency characterised his cabal.

We have Mr Sunak to thank for Lord Cameron's return to government.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

The Herald: Foreign Secretary Lord CameronForeign Secretary Lord Cameron (Image: PA)

Blatant hypocrisy

IT is intriguing to note Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron's visit to the Falkland Islands ("Sovereignty of Falklands ‘not up for discussion’", February 18).

The first by a cabinet minister since 2016, Lord Cameron highlighted that the islands’ sovereignty is "non-negotiable" while its residents wish it to remain British.

This is of course intriguing, as Lord Cameron is quite happy to pontificate that these islands should remain British as long as they want to, and yet that rule does not seem to apply to Scotland, where a majority are in favour of independence.

The blatant hypocrisy of the UK Government knows no bounds.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Read more: We have long been hamstrung by a lack of moral fibre in our politics

False claims on Falklands

BRITISH journalism occasionally walks into a neatly-set trap.

Argentine leaders continuously parade a patriotic sham about the Falkland Islands.

Copying Argentine language about returning the Falkland Islands or giving them back plainly echoes a lie on behalf of liars.

The Falklands have never at any time in history been Argentine. They were uninhabited when British farmers settled in the 17th century. No place called Argentina then existed.

The Argentine lie is mendacious patriotic talk to cover the failures of the Argentine administration in Argentina. Its problems don’t need spreading to more places.

It’s not as fashionable as it was for British voices to claim foreign dictators are always right and Britain always wrong. But that style of sentiment still gets uttered at the expense of freedom in distant lands.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

Resolution was meaningless

AS the Second World War was ending, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin was told that the then Pope was furious at Red Army incursions into neutral territories. Stalin's famous reply was: ''How many divisions has the Pope?''

I was reminded of this exchange by the off-the-scale irony in all the faux outrage and endless marching and ''demands'' with regard to a ceasefire in Gaza. All the resolutions and demonstrations please only the zealous participants. In the real world, Hamas and the Israelis will stop fighting when it suits them. Can you imagine Benjamin Netanyahu reeling and changing plans when he hears Stephen Flynn and the SNP backing a ceasefire in the strongest terms? A resolution by the SNP - even if anyone in Tel Aviv or in the Hamas strongholds have even heard of it - would not warrant the attention given to the latest football results.

The truth is that, apart from perhaps the United States, foreign ''protests'' have as much relevance to the belligerents in the ongoing tragedy in Gaza as the man in the moon.

Of course, virtue-signalling, faux outrage and marching and waving flags are the only things the SNP does that does not come under its ''reverse Midas'' umbrella.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

UK is seen as embarrassing

WHILE on a short trip here to Mexico, it’s been impossible not to be continually on the back foot about my British nationality with non-British friends and colleagues. Even in this functional but slightly chaotic distant country, ordinary folks are well educated and have noticed the UK’s declining prestige since 2016 and are also aware of its most recent fiascos - including an economy mired in recession, 20% of its population reported as living below the official poverty line, a once-mighty Royal Navy unable to put its flagship aircraft carrier into operation or to successfully test-launch a Trident nuclear missile from one of its hugely expensive submarines (you can almost hear Vladimir Putin sniggering), and then just this week, chaos at Westminster and a meaningless Labour Party resolution on Gaza (you can almost hear Benjamin Netanyahu sniggering).

Perhaps less obvious to the international community is also the abrupt put-down by the Canadian Government of Kemi Badenoch’s misleading claims about a successful post-Brexit trade deal. Like most of her Conservative colleagues, Ms Badenoch appears to inhabit a different reality from everyone else.

From a distance it is hard not to conclude the harsh reality that, from abroad, the UK is perceived as an embarrassing entity: self-obsessed, irrelevant and entirely lacking in any generosity or self-awareness. So it seems that Robert Burns was right when he said "O would some power the giftie gie us, to see oorsels as ithers see us". Scots beware; whether we like it or not we are currently part of this dismal UK enterprise and would be well-advised to consider our position, to protect our economy and international reputation.

Mr D Jamieson, Dunbar.

Read more: Confirmed: They want Scotland to be no more than a region

Alcohol policy is working

JOHN V Lloyd's letter (February 18) about minimum unit pricing of alcohol should not go unchallenged for its wholesale inaccuracies.

It was widely reported in the Guardian, the Lancet and the BBC in March last year that Minimum Pricing for Alcohol achieved a reduction of over 13% in alcohol-related deaths and over 4% similarly-related hospital admissions.

These figures suggest that the policy is working, contrary to Mr Lloyd's anti-Scottish Government position,where he suggests deaths have risen by 2%,without any source quoted.

M Tomlinson, Prestwick.

Parents setting a bad example

IT is not really a surprise to me that violence is increasing in our schools when you see how some parents behave when dropping off or collecting their children.

Parents at many schools in Aberdeen can be seen parking in the safety "no parking " areas whilst smoking in there cars with their children and even giving their kids a quick vape before they go into schools.

This sends entirely the wrong message to children that rules are there to be ignored, and ends with predictable violence when they are confronted with rules from teachers whilst in school.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.