Surgery required to cut back on NHS managers

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I WRITE as a former NHS employee of 30 years, in the finance department. The easiest way to achieve savings is to dramatically reduce the amount of managers on exorbitant salaries on all levels.

In the late 1960s, the NHS was held up as a template for excellence and we had an adequate amount of hospitals to deal with the population of Edinburgh.

Each hospital was run by an administrator, assistant administrator, a secretary/treasurer and a matron. They controlled their budget and it was rarely overspent.

There were efficient doctors and nurses to deal with the medical problems. Each ward and department had their own cleaners who took pride in their work and the place was spotless – no MRSA in those days.

Now the managers run the hospital and their priority is profit, not patient care. The billions that the ERI’s PFI scheme will have cost after 25 years is money dropped down a bottomless pit. When are common sense and logic going to return to what was the best institution in the world?

It appears now that patients are a major inconvenience and expense, and the older you get, the less you matter. That’s ironic, as it is the older generation who have paid the money into the system.

A Gibson, Edinburgh

Plan needed to smoke out beach litter louts

Everyone who values Scotland’s wonderful coastline should be concerned that this year’s Beachwatch clean up reported a doubling of cigarette butts and smoking-related litter found on our beaches.

Three years ago, the Scottish Government said it would produce a much-needed marine litter plan, but they haven’t even published a draft yet.

Levels of marine litter have increased by a quarter since 2009 and are estimated to cost the fishing and tourist sectors £17 million a year.

Whether you live on the coast or just love going there, please let the Scottish Government know that their attitude of constant delay is just not good enough.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP

Get on board Arctic Convoy database

I WAS delighted to read of Agnes Wilson’s father, Lewis John Wilson, who was an Arctic Convoy veteran (Letters, May 13).

May I suggest she contacts the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum – where we would be delighted to add her father’s details to our database and feature his story on our ‘True Lives’ section.

Indeed, we would be delighted to hear from any readers whose fathers were on the convoys, as we are trying to collect as much information as possible. Details of how to get in touch are on the same webpage.

A postscript to the event last Thursday at Loch Ewe – we had the most marvellous occasion and were very privileged to have 40 veterans attending with their families. The stories they told us were truly amazing and it was an honour to meet each and every one.

Leona Thomas, Maybury Drive, Edinburgh

Retrofit programme would boost industry

Contrary to concerns raised this week, the construction industry is fully behind the ongoing drive for higher standards of energy efficiency in Scotland’s built environment.

The issue is more one of timing and the right order of priorities. New build energy efficiency has already made huge progress in recent years.

But a great deal of work remains to be done to raise the standard of energy efficiency within Scotland’s existing built environment.

In the short term, the impact of stricter new build regulations will be significantly reduced by historically low numbers of new homes now being built.

EU legislation requires continued improvement in the energy efficiency of new build homes. But moves to gold-plate that legislation by requiring ‘near zero energy’ standards in new buildings three years ahead of schedule will only serve to hamper recovery in the housebuilding industry.

The first priority must be a national retrofit programme to upgrade energy efficiency throughout the existing built environment.

This would support thousands of jobs and apprenticeship opportunities and enhance skills in both the construction and energy conservation industries.

Michael Levack, executive director, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh

Football boss would manage fine at No 10

NOW that Sir Alex Ferguson has retired as manager of Manchester United, could he do us all a favour and run for office at No 10 Downing Street?

There is no way on Earth he could be any worse than the shower of rubbish that we have at the moment.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian

Gas checks are a must to help avoid tragedy

IT IS of great concern that lives could be put at rick in an estimated 28,000 private rented homes which have not had a gas safety check in the past year according to Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas (News, May 10).

Anyone renting a home should have gas appliances checked regularly to avoid a tragedy.

If landlords don’t comply with safety rules they should be prosecuted as deserved. Gas safety checks are an absolute must.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian