Readers' letters: Is it time to abandon an oudated NHS?

We must stop pretending we have anything like an acceptable medical service.

Our politicians must grasp this nettle to reduce the unacceptable toll of rising death rates from lack of basic medical care.Since the Tony Blair era, when UK taxpayer funded medical salaries became some of the highest in Europe, far exceeding those of France or even Germany, the NHS has been in decline.

There is now a generation of part-time general practitioners, with many opting for their now-affordable three-day working week.

This has provided a hit-and-miss, part-time service at best, recently exacerbated by the Covid pandemic when GPs further distanced themselves from contact with patients, substituting a telephone service and working from home or behind locked surgery doors to keep patients out.

Other poorer paid public-facing key workers, such as police, carers, shop workers or on public transport in contrast continued to work full time.Now the long suffering tax-paying public are faced with an outrageous 30 per cent pay demand from our GPs.

Enough is enough. The only hope of reducing the excessive death rate from this lack of service is reform. We need a pragmatically based insurance service, akin to that of Germany, which delivers.

Our politicians, perhaps with the help of Edinburgh’s financial community, must rise to this challenge and abandon the NHS and its outdated 1940s structures to modernise and restore the failing health of our communities and country.

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh.

Gene opposition is small potatoes

A new strain of potatoes, containing as much vitamin C as lemons, has been developed by Scottish scientists at the James Hutton Institute, formerly the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) in Dundee.

Crops of this potentially valuable and nutritious strain could be grown in the UK within five years.

However, because the techniques used involve "gene editing", the SNP Government has said it will not allow such crops to be grown in Scotland.

This ruling is in spite of researchers at the University of Edinburgh saying that Scotland " will be left behind if it does not embrace it". Last week at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, said "The Scottish farmers want it, the National Farmers' Union want it, Scottish food producers want it".

Why should the results of this game changing research work, carried out by Scottish scientists in Scotland, be rejected by a Scottish parliament elected by "the people of Scotland"?

Does our First Minister, along with her cohort of SNP and Green Ministers, realise that they are blocking better nourishment in a hungry world - or do they know something that our skilled Scottish scientists do not know?

Dr Alison Innes, Alford

Nicola in a legal pickle over indyref

Nicola Sturgeon finds herself in a pickle. She decides to wrong-foot the Government by asking the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of her proposed referendum bill which her party wants to push through Holyrood.

This is because she doesn't want to ask the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain as to its legality first. Why not? In all likelihood, because, with her background as a former lawyer herself, Ms Sturgeon knows that it is illegal, being beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament, as constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster. Were it not so, surely she would already have asked Ms Bain's opinion?

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh.

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