HAVING read Professor Ronan O’Carroll’s letter (June 19) regarding unsafe A&E departments I am tempted to suggest that this was always the case. Twenty-two years ago I was working on the design of a new A&E for Glasgow Royal. We were told to install solid plasterboard ceilings and solid panels to hide the cistern in the patient toilets because these were the favoured places for them to hide drugs should the police turn up.

The full-height glazed windows to the waiting area then had to be obscured to discourage gangs from coming in after their victims whilst the triage area had to get extra stainless steel mesh added to the top of the bank-style security counter in order to further protect staff from attack.

I also spent a day in the emergency department of a large London hospital where I was designing a new A&E department. It was the same story there with staff demanding as many barriers as possible between them and the patients. Try designing a welcoming environment when faced with those criteria.

Before Covid I would regularly watch TV reports of people being parked in emergency department corridors during a typical winter flu season. This alarmed me for two reasons. Firstly, these corridors are designed to be wide enough to speed a patient with attachments through for further processing to theatres or radiology. But they also double as evacuation routes during a fire. So on two fronts introducing blockages increases the risk to patient safety.

Secondly, if you have patients placed head to toe in a corridor there is an additional level of risk if one is a vulnerable elderly patient with chest pains but is placed next to a young patient with a severe case of flu. Without adequate separation - generally three metres minimum - you are asking for trouble.

It has also always puzzled me why waiting areas in A&E are not designed for lengthy stays with only basic chairs provided. Even in airports you will often see recliners provided for customers facing potential delays. Moreover it could be easily remedied if more space was scheduled at the outset.

The A&E waiting area in the QEUH is particularly small as it was scheduled at only 85 sq.m to cater for 60 people or 1.4 sq.m per person. Notwithstanding that, the final design only showed 82 sq.m or 1.36 sq.m per person. However the minimum standard I used to work to was 1.6 sq.m per person. The unit was therefore non-compliant before it even opened.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.

READ MORE: Politicians must be clear: our A&E departments are not safe places

READ MORE: Why is the right to free assembly to be denied only to Catholics?

Pro-life lobby have power

WHILE I agree with and support recent letters condemning the vote regarding the introduction of buffer zones around abortion clinics it is incorrect to suggest that only Roman Catholics will be affected by this decision. This decision will also affect pro-life supporters who belong to other Christian denominations, other religions and those who have no religious affiliation and also includes people from all age groups and social classes, to use an old-fashioned term.

The almost-unanimous vote by the Scottish Parliament is an affront to democracy in Scotland and has shown that politicians from all the main political parties have deliberately chosen to ignore and attempt to silence those who do not support buffer zones and also ignore any people who support pro-life issues. I wonder what is next on the agenda of those who supported the buffer zone bill? Maybe assisted dying/suicide, maybe a bill to abolish Catholic schools? I wonder if they will listen to any view contrary to their own? They voted for buffer zones yet they were fully aware that Police Scotland had said on several occasions that there was no need them. The result of this vote gives away the lie about their claims to want "one Scotland" where everyone's views are respected. No, the Scotland they aspire to is a country where only views which coincide with their agendas are deemed to be permissible.

Perhaps, though, the main political parties and their camp followers in the bulk of the Scottish media should remember that members of the pro-life movement also have votes which they will use in both the upcoming General Election and the Scottish parliamentary election in 2026. I for one will not vote for any of the main parties in either election but will use my vote for candidates and parties such as the Scottish Family Party. I am aware they have little or no chance of forming or being part of a government either in Holyrood or Westminster but they best represent my personal beliefs.

I speak as somebody who was once, many years ago, a Labour Party branch secretary in Bishopton in what in the 1980s and early 1990s was part of Renfrewshire West Constituency and vigorously campaigned for the party. In more recent times I have voted SNP at local, Scottish and Westminster elections. I have moved away from both parties but both parties have also moved away from me and in no way represent or are prepared to listen to my views. I am almost certain that many other individuals share my views about the current political and social situation in Scotland and will vote according to their conscience, rather than vote the way they have always done.

Joe MacEachen, Coatbridge.

• ALISTAIR Easton (Letters, June 17) failed to mention a massive abortion clinic dilemma. Draconian laws around abortion centres potentially appear to make whistling Amazing Grace by clinic doors an offence. A simple question: are extreme measures needed to prevent the ugly and self-evident truth about Scotland's brutal abortion horror fully leaking out?

A vigil outside an Edinburgh abortion clinicA vigil outside an Edinburgh abortion clinic (Image: Newsquest)

James Hardy, Belfast.

Give us more fat cat facts

I NOTE the letter (June 19) from Clark Cross about council fat cats. Perhaps the Taxpayers Alliance could publish a list of British companies' fat cat directors and board members. Then we could be informed of income inequalities throughout the United Kingdom.

Jim Mackenzie, Edinburgh.

Should Christian schools be allowed?

WE were concerned to hear that Melville Knox Christian Schools are hoping to open a fourth primary school in Dunblane where children will be taught “from a Biblical perspective”, including creationism.

Some might argue that with this being a privately funded fee-paying school, parents can have their children taught whatever they want, but where should state care for all young people draw the line? Should we have flat Earth schools? Are anti-science ideologies permissible in education if they are religious anti-science ideologies ?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Edinburgh.