‘Vast majority are dedicated individuals’

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The waiting list scandal at NHS Lothian, which included a deliberate fiddling of figures, prompted a review of practices at all 14 health boards across Scotland.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Alex Neil told MSPs at Holyrood that Lothian hospitals were the only ones to systematically manipulate their 

A relief for those elsewhere in the country, perhaps, but indicative of just how far our own health board had fallen in its standards and 

Thankfully, some of the key individuals responsible have now departed, others have moved post or been retrained, and the real waiting list numbers are falling.

NHS Lothian faces a huge challenge and there is a long way to go before waiting times and patient satisfaction return to appropriate levels. But while learning the lessons of the past, we should also remember that the vast majority of people in our health service are dedicated and hard-working individuals.

At this time of year, when illness leaves many of us struggling, our doctors and nurses will be on hand 24 hours a day to keep us well.

While we are right to demand the absolute best standards of care and hold our health service to account, we should also be proud of it and thankful for their professionalism and skill.

Historic trial

It has been 35 years since the World’s End murders shook Edinburgh.

But the relatives of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie have never given up hope that they would get justice – and the police have never stopped pursuing the inquiry.

We cannot make any assumptions over the news that Angus Sinclair is to face trial again under new double jeopardy laws.

But police, prosecutors, and politicians do deserve credit for working together to ensure that this can be brought to court.

It is sure to be one of the highest-profile cases of recent years and will once again see our justice system on trial.

As it is the first use of the new law since it came into force last year, the progress of the case and outcome will no doubt be closely monitored and debated.

Amid all the publicity, however, we should not forget that at the centre of it all are two ordinary girls. Two girls who would be in their 50s now had it not been for that fateful night in October 1977.

It is them and their devastated families who face another Christmas without them whom we should keep in mind today.