LETTERS: Government must do more to support NHS

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The news that only 26% of nurses feel that their department is sufficiently staffed comes as no surprise to me (report, December 12).

Last week I attended Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to undergo surgery and many of the staff there spoke openly about the stresses they were facing.

The nurse who took me to theatre did so in her lunch break. Another told me of how the closure of the Forth Road Bridge meant that, on top of a 12 and a half hour shift, she faced 3 or 4 hours of driving each day. I saw a doctor offer to take casework off an overloaded ECG specialist. All this was in the space of a few hours.

On discharge I was asked to make an appointment with my GP practice within 72 hours. On calling, I found that no appointment was available for two weeks and that I had to rely on good will to be seen.

This act of good will typified my experience. Every member of NHS staff I met during my 24 hours in the ERI was absolutely dedicated to their job and willing to go the extra mile to help patients and colleagues.

It is a real shame that we don’t have a government in Scotland that values the NHS in the same way.

Dr Scott Arthur, Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh

Cameron in for bumpy ride in Brussels

One hopes that Mr Cameron is a fan of Brussels sprouts, as he is in for extra helpings at the European Council summit this week.

Reports that the Prime Minister is set to back down on his proposed curb on EU migrants entering the UK in the EU renegotiations should hardly come as a surprise.

The proposed ‘fundamental’ reform of the UK’s relationship with the EU in the run up to the EU referendum has become a rod that is currently breaking the PM’s back.

First, proposals to limit EU migrants through imposing a cap were quickly rejected following objections, primarily from Chancellor Merkel. And now proposals to limit in-work benefits to those EU migrants who have been in the UK for four years look set to go to the wall.

This was always a sideshow, as those coming from the EU to the UK don’t come for benefits but to work. So, any attempt to curb migrants through restricting benefits will inevitably have little impact, a view most recently backed by economist, Sir Stephen Nickell, a senior member of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The wheels are rapidly falling off Tory renegotiation proposals, as many predicted, and talk of ‘strong fundamental reform’ of our relationship with the EU has become something of a damp squib.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Forth Bridge toll cut hit repairs budget

In the week that saw £20m going unpaid to Scottish taxpayers from failed wave power technology that Alex Salmond launched, Nicola Sturgeon announced another £12m to be spent on environment projects as the oil price falls to $37 a barrel and the Scottish coffers empty.

Meanwhile, the Forth Road Bridge breaks down after the SNP decided to cost Scottish taxpayers £12m a year by scrapping the environmentally friendly tolls, thus emptying the repair budget of the bridge.

You really couldn’t make up the financial madness of this government.

Thomas McCafferty, Drumbrae South, Edinburgh

Thanks for donations to childbirth charity

On behalf of the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society Lothians gift-wrapping team, I would like to thank the management and staff at Ocean Terminal, and the shoppers who gave generously, for the opportunity to collect a total of £225.50 while wrapping shoppers’ gifts on three half days last week.

The money will assist the work of the charity, which offers a range of services to those affected following a stillbirth or the loss of a baby shortly after being born.

Jane Lockhart, SANDS Lothians Volunteer

Edinburgh Council gets message at last

LAST Tuesday the Evening News published my Comment piece ‘Edinburgh Council needs fresh ideas not cuts’, calling on our city leaders to merge roads and education services with East, West and Midlothian Council.

My case was that the money saved by reducing back office costs would remove any need for cuts in local services, in these times of austerity.

Then, on Thursday, the Evening News tells us that council bosses have decided to share resources and work with its neighbours on roads.

They want to share staff, resources and expertise in a bid to ensure work is carried out efficiently and cost-effectively.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport leader, has said: “Collaborating with Borders, Lothians and Fife Councils on roads services would allow us to improve resilience and sustainability by sharing expertise, standardising processes and eliminating the duplication of joint resources.”

Hmm. “Eliminating the duplication of joint resources” – almost a word-for-word translation of the piece the News published two days earlier.

Might there be a chance Cllr Hinds has been reading your paper and has taken our advice on board?

Maybe we shall never know

With any luck Councillor Paul Godzik will follow suit and issue director of education Gillian Tee with more work or a P45.

Peter Gregson, Kids not Suits