Letters: Quarryfoot patient cuts show an uncaring side

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As one of the 140 patients forced to leave Quarryfoot Practice at Bonnyrigg Health Centre, I would like to comment on your article ‘Patients forced out in surgery crackdown’ (News, June 1) .

In my opinion the matter has been dealt with in a very uncaring way, considering medical treatment and patient/doctor relationships are a very sensitive issue.

I have been with the surgery for 27 years, 11 of which I lived in Bonnyrigg and the last 16 in Dalkeith. The first I knew of the fact that I was no longer to be treated at the surgery was a ‘one size fits all’ letter received with no previous warning.

I had had an appointment with my GP the previous day and no mention was made of the fact that I was to be forced to move. Surely it would not have been beyond the doctors to mention the fact to any patients they saw between the decision being made and the letter being received.

Attending an appointment after receiving the letter, the GP said to me: “I didn’t realise you had moved house.” Given that was 16 years ago and they had my full address, it seemed a rather feeble excuse for forcing me out.

I note that the practice manager states that Quarryfoot will continue to support patients until they find a new GP. This is not what is stated in the letter – it states that I have one month to find a new practice.

Dalkeith Medical Centre closed its patient list some time ago and has no plans to reopen this, limiting the number of practices that are still accepting new patients.

While I accept that all medical centres are under strain, I feel Quarryfoot Practice could perhaps have handled the situation somewhat better.

Name and address supplied

Limit child benefits to first two children only

The UK government is considering plans to slash child benefit. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is calculating the impact of cutting child benefit from £20.70 a week to £13.70 for the first child.

I prefer the other proposal which would limit benefits to just two children. This is what the majority of the public wants because they are forced to pay taxes to support those families who breed and expect others to pay.

More children mean more pressure on social housing, welfare, education and the NHS.

Many hard-working families limit the number of children to what they can afford, while others, often not in employment, expect the state to 
provide. Minister Iain Duncan Smith, pictured, must ignore ‘the usual suspects’ and pass this sensible legislation quickly.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Hunt campaigners mislead with filming

I AM writing having watched League Against Cruel Sports’ highly suggestive and much published expose on several Borders Hunts during the early part of this year.

The piece implies that the registered hunts that feature in the film have no regard for the Protection of Wild Mammals Act 2002, and are routinely flouting the law. As someone who is intrinsically involved with Hunting in Scotland, I find the suggestion offensive.

Just because guns can’t be seen does not mean that they are not present. It is an important element of effective flushing that individuals acting as guns conceal themselves and blend into their surroundings.

The LACS film shows six clips where a breach is suggested, the cumulative time of these add up to no more than 72 seconds of footage, against a backdrop of what will have been 30+ hours activity. Clutching at straws doesn’t come close to describing the findings.

While LACS are correct to state that hunting a fox in the open after it has left cover is an offence, it is not an offence to do so if that fox is believed to be injured or diseased during the course of being flushed.

There are clear provisions for hounds to continue to track such a fox with a view to it being dispatched quickly. The language of the act actually makes a requirement to do so on welfare grounds.

Finally, an independent study two years ago on the feasibility of using fewer hounds was tested. Two hounds took on average twice as long to locate a fox in cover compared to a full pack, and on average three times longer to get the fox into a position where it could be dispatched by a gun. In other words prolonging the chase, thus a failure on both utility and welfare grounds.

What LACS suggest is neither effective, nor better for the quarry.

The Scottish Hunting Act does work and enables hunts to provide a vital and appreciated service to farming communities. Foxes, while indeed handsome animals, cause considerable damage to livestock and livelihood in an already hard-pressed rural economy.

Ronan Brown, Jedforset Hunt and Richard Holman-Baird, Kincardineshire Hunt

Taxpayer price for Alex ‘two seats’ Salmond

It would appear that my MSP Tricia Marwick is intending to resign and step away. Which makes me wonder if she is missing out on the new way of doing things in Scottish politics.

Did she not think of stepping down as Presiding Officer, seeking re-election next May as a backbench MSP and simply not bothering to turn up at Holyrood?

Surely if it’s OK for Alex Salmond to spend his time in Westminster as the MP for Gordon, leaving his Aberdeenshire East seat in Edinburgh unused, then the same is an option to the Member for Mid-Fife and Glenrothes. After all, it’s only taxpayers’ money that pays for these things.

Colin Cookson, Stenton, Glenrothes