OUR National Health Service is certainly in trouble at the moment, and for it to return to full operating efficiency, there are many issues to be tackled. In the main, these are likely to be expensive problems requiring long-term solutions.

We appear to be short of fully equipped medical facilities, nurses, doctors and care staff.

It will take years to fix many of these problems. Please forgive me if my guesstimate numbers that follow are off the mark, but I do think they are likely to be of the correct order:

  • to build a new hospital – 10 years
  • to train a doctor – 8 years
  • to train a nurse – 4 years

One of the significant current problems, however, is “bed blocking” and a lack of provision at local level.

In this latter case, there is perhaps a solution which could be implemented in a much shorter timescale.

We need carers! And possibly facilities which do not have the provision of full-scale hospitals. Perhaps similar to the “convalescence homes” which those of us a certain age might remember from years past.

How long might it take to train a care worker? This might be possible over a period as short as six months. Most post-hospital care, I would hope, could be done in the patient’s home, and whereas it might be necessary to erect care centres locally, expertise in rapid construction I am sure already exists. Consider, for example, how long it would take Lidl to erect a grocery store or McDonald’s to build a hamburger restaurant.

READ MORE: Glasgow GPs 'face abuse fuelled by English media reporting'

Then of course we would have to pay competitive salaries to our care workers. I mean here salaries which favourably compare to retail workers or cafe staff. Staff retention is as important as recruitment.

If we resolve the problem of bed blocking in the manner suggested, it will certainly not be cost-free, but it might be achievable within a relatively short timescale.

This might give us a little breathing space whilst we get down to the huge problem of recruiting and training specialist medical staff for hospitals and GP surgeries.

Can I say that the NHS as a concept is quite simply wonderful!

Alex Leggatt


WHAT a dreadful state the health service is in the 21st century. This isn’t all down to Covid, as the Westminster government would like us to believe, but instead it’s their cutting away at services and their mismanagement of what we have left that is the heart of the problem.

In my opinion, they are itching to sell our NHS to the highest bidder. All this has a knock-on effect on the Scottish NHS. Why are the general practitioners not all back in their surgeries? There is no reason whatsoever for GPs not to be providing their patients with fully functioning surgeries! The hospital doctors and nurses all worked through the extremes of the pandemic and now they are all experiencing even more stress, especially in A&E because people are having to go there as they can’t get appointments with their GPs.

If GPs can’t cope with their existing patients, then why do they keep adding new ones to their list? Why, when they insist they are stressed and overworked, do they conduct training sessions during what should be consultation time? Training could be done outwith normal working hours, therefore allowing that time for seeing patients!

READ MORE: Emma Roddick defends Inverness primary school over LGBT survey

I have received numerous texts telling me not to contact the surgery during training, or unless I have an emergency or that they have a shortage of staff. They just don’t want to be bothered with patients full stop, I think. It seems they are more than happy to answer an occasional phone call for the same salaries regardless of the detriment caused to their patients, and the added stress put on our hospital doctors and nurses. This stress on services is also apparent when the vaccinations are being administered because doctors aren’t doing any of the vaccinations.

It’s meant that frail and elderly people have had to queue in halls of more than 100 people for more than two hours – this is my personal experience. You are given an appointment which means zilch, you just have to wait regardless!

Anne Smart

Milton of Campsie

OWEN Kelly says much to be lauded in his Thursday letter and adds that the royal family “cannot be welcomed to represent an independent Scotland ... an independent Scotland will be a modern republic” etc. But we are not yet independent.

Better still is the attitude of Valerie and Mark Waters in their preceding letter suggesting an invitation is issued “on behalf of the people of Scotland ... for Charles to be crowned King of Scotland in Edinburgh” making “a striking affirmation as a separate nation”.

As a long-time republican, I can see that theirs is a fine proposal to park this “thorny” subject until we are independent and then we can have a referendum at a time of our own choosing.

As a side issue, it would be very interesting and informative to see the machinations of the English (Westminster) government trying to go for or get out of that!

Paul Gillon