FURTHER to your article “Warning over Scottish Government plans to boost GP numbers” (August 29), readers of Audit Scotland’s latest report on NHS workforce planning may have missed what the findings mean for all of us when we are facing the end of our lives.

Palliative care is vital to ensuring people live as well as they can in the time they have left. People who are in the last six months of life will spend 90% of that time at home or in a community setting being looked after by primary care teams.

Currently one in four people miss out on some of the palliative care they need. You can expect this to increase significantly as we face the future of an ageing population and more people living with complex health conditions. More than eight out of ten UK GPs tell us that they don’t have as much time as they would like to care for dying patients because of workload, a view reflected by Audit Scotland’s

finding. Primary care teams are central to providing excellent end-of-life care, and we know how much patients and their families value being able to have an open conversation with their doctor about what lies ahead.

It is only with the full involvement of GP practices that patients can realise an often-held ambition to be cared for and die in their own home. At Marie Curie we work closely with primary care teams to make this happen.

We know that more and more GPs in Scotland are supporting dying patients with plans and there are excellent examples of good quality end-of-life care, but we must ensure that this is consistent. To help we teamed up with The Royal College of General Practitioners to create a set of eight quality improvement statements for GP practices, known as the Daffodil Standards, to work towards.

Time is running out to realise the Scottish Government’s ambition that everyone who needs palliative care has access to it by 2021. We need action now to ensure that GP practices have the workforce they need. Scots dying now deserve the best care we can give them.

Richard Meade
Marie Curie Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland

I’m pleased for Mr MacLachlan (Letters, August 30) that he has been able to do without a car for 14 years. Berwick-upon-Tweed is, for him, a seve-minute car trip or a 90-minute walk. Our nearest town is a 30-minute drive or a six-hour walk, and we are by no means remote. He is lucky, too,

in having a more frequent bus service than we enjoy. The best we’ve been able to manage is to go from two cars to one.

John MacDonald
via thenational.scot

I’m 48 and have never held a driving licence. I cycle about 5000 miles a year on my electric bike. Great fun!

Alex Campbell
via thenational.scot

IN answer to Shirley Johnston (August 29) seeking a way to watch the news of her choice, whilst it is not possible under Freeview there is a simple solution. Either purchase a Freesat tuner or a TV with one built in, plus install the small sat dish/cabling. Under the set-up for Freesat just add the postcode of your required watching, eg a Glasgow one for STV or a Bath one for Gloucester area. The system will then display your chosen area BBC news on channel 101 and commercial on channel 103.

I made mine a Bath postal code so I could watch the live football, which appears on English regions but not Scottish.

D R Turnbull
via email

I NOTE that next Monday evening at 9pm, BBC 2 is showing the first in a series on the rise of the Nazis while Channel 5 is showing a programme in which Jeremy Paxman asks the question “Why are our politicians crap?”

Robert Mitchell