LETTERS: Patients are right to be concerned over NHS wait

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It is highly appropriate that patients’ rights campaigners have hit out so vehemently at the latest evidence of SNP NHS failings. Almost equally disturbing is health secretary, Shona Robison’s seemingly complacent response.

With 92,000 patients waiting longer than the SNP’s four-hour A&E target in 2015 and more than 8000 for longer than eight hours, the Scottish Patients Association expresses the concern we all share for serious consequences ‘that could... prove to be fatal’ for vulnerable patients.

No one is blaming our under-resourced clinical teams – the issue lies with SNP investment decisions, not just in hospitals but also in primary care, hit by a GP staffing crisis.

The SNP has chosen to increase NHS spending more slowly in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK and sadly we now witness the consequences.

The NHS is a long-devolved power and has been the SNP’s responsibility for nine years. Ms Robison’s response to these latest findings is to play ‘them and us’ with Westminster, criticising the rest of the UK’s performance.

How does Ms Robison imagine this will address the problem?

Martin Redfern, Royal Circus, Edinburgh

Action on potholes can save council money

I am struck by the fact that Edinburgh has set up a so-called pothole ‘hit squad’ to urgently repair potholes.

On February 24 I highlighted my concerns over a series of large potholes at Coates Place. Nothing unfortunately was done and on March 8 as I passed by, a bus was sitting in front of these potholes with its hazard warning lights on.

On speaking with the gentleman guiding motorists and cyclists around the bus, he highlighted that the bus had burst its tyre in going over the pothole. This had been temporarily repaired with a sandbag to avoid further damage.

It would apparently cost £500 to uplift the bus, plus the cost to repair the tyre and, of course, the inconvenience of a bus being off the road.

Here is a perfect example of where earlier intervention, accompanied by good quality repairs, could have saved the council much-needed cash.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Offshore coal gas plan better than fracking

Michelle Smythe (Letters, March 8) forgets that in October 2013 Alex Salmond and John Swinney gave Ineos £9 million to help save the Grangemouth refinery complex from closing with 800 jobs losses in a union dispute that escalated from a bitter Labour party candidate selection battle in Falkirk.

As Nicola Sturgeon said ‘a moratorium means no fracking’ and it was clear that she was opposed to fracking.

The Labour party’s stance on fracking has never been clear, as in the House of Commons last year they abstained rather than vote on an amendment for a moratorium, and their 2015 general election manifesto stated that if they were elected to power, they would support a regulated fracking industry.

While I am against underground fracking, particularly near residential areas, there does seem to be a huge potential for deep off-shore coal gasification, apparently using the same methods as in North Sea oil drilling, which could prove to be another massive North Sea bonanza for Scotland, with enough energy to power the whole of the UK for at least 100 years.

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

Turkey holding EU to ransom over migrants

Europe is being held to ransom by Turkey over the migrant crisis as the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu demanded an additional 3 billion euros (£2.3 billion) to help it deal with refugees, making a total of 6 billion euros.

David Cameron has also offered to hand over £500 million.

From its position of strength Turkey is also demanding a relaxation of visa rules to let the country’s 77 million citizens come to continental Europe without visas from June.

Critics say this will lead to even more economic migrants flooding in.

The most sinister demand of all is for the speeding up of the negotiation process which could ultimately end with Turkey becoming a full member of the EU.

Turkey has just suppressed free speech with the state-enforced takeover of Zaman, the country’s largest newspaper and has well-documented human rights issues.

Britain is not party to the Schengen ‘Open Borders’ Agreement but we must still strengthen our borders since numerous refugees and economic migrants will not remain in Europe but seek out the land flowing with housing and welfare benefits.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Cash give away? There must be an election due

You can always tell when there is an election coming up. It’s when governments start spending taxpayers’ money as though it was their own.

Delays to payments to Scottish farmers caused by the incompetence of the SNP Government’s new computer system? Certainly, give them £200 million.

Cuts to local authorities causing a reduction in the education budget? Certainly, give education £100 million out of the proposed council tax changes.

Flooding? Sorry, only £12 million for you. Job losses in Aberdeen? Let’s have a city deal, £250 million should cover it.

Throwing taxpayers’ money to cover up problems caused by the SNP’s own policies and priorities is not the way to run Scotland.

Phil Tate, Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh