Letters: Integrated elderly care is the best way forward

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Iwelcome the new laws passed to allow for the integration of Scotland’s health and social care services. In theory, this could potentially have a very welcome and significant impact on older people in the country.

The two realms are so intertwined that a single point for care coordination makes perfect sense and should help prevent people slipping through the cracks.

We would also encourage the public agencies to work alongside the voluntary sector and look at the wider issues facing older people in particular.

Our charity, Contact the Elderly, supports more than 750 older people in Scotland who are over the age of 75, and have suffered or are at risk of suffering social isolation.

Loneliness among our ageing population is only set to increase and the ramifications are clear, through poor mental and physical health which places pressure on the NHS, as well as a significant demand on already overstretched social work departments.

The sad reality faced by these people cannot be underestimated and acting to prevent or alleviate their suffering must be central to the decision making process for policy makers, and those who are coming into direct contact with older people such as doctors, therapists and support workers.

The earlier someone is offered support, the better. This support can be something as simple as joining our monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties. The premise is simple – our guests join other older people and volunteers for a trip out of the house in good company, being driven by one of our volunteer drivers to tea at a volunteer host’s home.

This helps forge lasting friendships and we have been told time and time again the enormous impact this can make.

Finding ways to most effectively support our rapidly ageing population is a pressing need and this latest streamlining of health and social services is certainly a step in the right direction.

Valerie Crookston, Scotland Executive Officer, Contact the Elderly, George Street, Edinburgh

City road repair policy needs greater clarity

When are the City of Edinburgh Council going to get their priorities right with repairing/maintaining the roads in this city?

Over the last couple of weeks I have seen numerous projects repairing paving slabs, widening pavements which don’t need widening and the latest one - landscaping the roundabout at Longstone near the LRT bus depot.

The road surface on this roundabout is rutted and pitted, yet hundreds if not thousands of pounds are being spent on landscaping the middle of the roundabout. Why?

I am starting to think someone in the council just sticks a pin in a map then work starts on a project which is totally unnecessary. Let’s get our priorities right

Graham Espin, Baberton Mains, Edinburgh

Nicola’s referendum views lack consistency

Nicola Sturgeon makes much of her claim that in the event of an in-out referendum on the EU, all countries in the UK should be unanimous regarding a vote to leave.

Clearly she would apply the same logic to another Scottish independence referendum, should there ever be one. In that event it is worth noting that out of the 32 regions in the referendum, 28 voted ‘No’.

Donald Lewis, East Lothian (address suppied)

SNP wrong to bracket Labour with Tories

I must take issue with John Jappy’s rather irrational letter about Jim Murphy (News, April 8).

Jim Murphy has become the leader of the Scottish Labour Party and is criticised for liking things Scottish and wanting more powers for the Scottish Parliament. Surely the criticism would be justified if he did not like things Scottish and wanted fewer powers in Scotland.

His past voting record was the same as the majority of Scottish MPs elected in Scotland.

Does Mr Jappy have a problem with democracy? He does seem to when he makes the point about two cities voting for independence but forgetting to mention the 28 regions that voted against.

Finally, the criticism about Labour and Tory being on the same side in supporting the Union is a wonderful piece of spin.

The SNP spin doctors need to associate Labour and the Tories to capture the Labour vote. The mantra that they are the same is a bit hollow when Ms Sturgeon cannot possibly work with the Tories but in the recent leaders’ debate was pleading with Mr Miliband to say he would work with her in Westminster.

I do feel that arguments should at least be rational.

Paul Beswick, Tollcross, Edinburgh

Vote for a real living wage for all workers

On Princes Street today, like most days, there was a stall campaigning for a living wage, run by Scottish Socialist Party activists.

Far too many people these days are stuck living in minimum wage jobs, at the beck and call of employers, on zero hours contracts. There is no security in this type of employment, no ability to plan; you are left living payslip to payslip, unable to cope with unexpected bills and relying on the government to top up your wages through in-work benefits.

Only the Scottish Socialist Party demands a £10 an hour living wage now, for everyone from age 16, and a complete ban on zero hours contracts. This is what is needed to tackle poverty pay, no less.

Phil Martin, Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh