THE informative letters of Mike Lean and Dave Llewellyn (January 12) highlight why the Scottish Government should not rely on the mainstream media, including the BBC, to objectively present NHS statistics, or any other “national numbers” such as the GERS figures, in appropriate context with professionally sound comparisons of relative performance and pertinent caveats clearly stated.

As limited but further powers have been devolved to Scotland, one might naturally have assumed that the Scotland Office budget for representing Scottish interests at Westminster would have been proportionately reduced. The fact that budget has significantly increased indicates that the UK Government recognises the importance of presenting its views along with any salient figures to the Scottish public through the media, and it is important that this subjective slant is at least partially offset when the Scottish Government presents its own figures.

Where estimates are necessary because, for example, the NHS in England only reports monthly instead of weekly or uses a less comprehensive four-hour basis as a measure of A&E response, these should be made by qualified personnel and should be included in brief reports accompanying Scottish Government numbers so that we can all make more informed assessments.

It should not be acceptable for any responsible media platform, never mind a public broadcaster, to persistently disseminate misleading or “fake” news, and the Scottish Government must do more to encourage all working in the mainstream media to minimise this abuse of its lauded freedom.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THERE is one part of The National that stands head and shoulders above every other source of information. Your letters page is always fascinating, challenging, informative, funny and thought-provoking. Yesterday I read input from Mr Dave Llewellyn, which left me with a lump in my throat and a whole new sense of appreciation for my country, government and healthcare professionals, and the excellent Long Letter by Susan FG Forde, whose contribution was an eye-opening, blood-raising call to arms for ANYONE who values democracy or even the basic rights we should demand of our government. With people like these on our side, why should we fear for the future?

RJ Bulloch