I WRITE for my wife Anne (62), who is currently in a care home, enduring day 179 of enforced lockdown and isolation from her family and friends. She has Alzheimer’s and literally cannot speak for herself, therefore please allow me.

I recently listened to the Health Secretary deliver a technocratic speech on the care home situation.

There is something verging on the sinister in the manner in which our “high heid yins” utter declarations from what they seem to feel is the moral high ground.

“We must protect our care home residents!” is the common mantra. Yet we have manifestly failed! There have been far too many dead care home residents.

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Our decision-makers do not know my wife. I say to the Health Secretary and her colleagues that I shall happily recant if you personally have been separated from the love of your life for 179 days and counting.

Did you receive a phone call from hospital mid-pandemic, where your partner lay ALONE fighting for her life with Covid pneumonia, acquired in your care home sector from which ALL family had in any case been banned?

Did you find yourself like me, utterly distraught, and sitting awake at night for days on end, clutching my phone, willing it NOT to ring ...for the paralysing fear that some disembodied voice would matter-of-factly inform me that my 62-year-old wife (she’s younger even than you, Health Secretary, and several of your Cabinet colleagues) was dead?

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I know you’ll call this a low shot! Not fair! But if you’re going to stand up in parliament and declare empathy then I reserve the right to let the public know specifically what you claim to be empathising about.

“Thoughts and prayers” .... and a review of the social care/NHS pandemic industry etc! etc! Sounds like a can being kicked down the road.

And OUR reward for being “good citizens” and diligently observing the guidelines? To watch human nature do its inevitable thing, people going on holidays foreign and domestic, living their lives, partying here, there and everywhere, inevitably leading to Covid spiking ... and then WE are punished for others’ transgressions!!

Let me tell you about my “window visit” with my wife last Thursday, Health Secretary (any criticism is of the approved system, not the care home staff. They’re just following orders.

Ten meagre minutes! Standing outside staring bleakly in to my wife’s bedroom. Shouting “I love you” and “I miss you” for all to hear .... perhaps my wife, most likely the staff posted at her bedroom door, and certainly the couple out walking their dog on the pavement behind me. Then a carer rushes forward to apologetically announce that the manager has phoned and the slightly ajar window MUST be immediately shut.

Might as well have had a carer lead me away ringing a bell and shouting “UNCLEAN!”

Campbell Duke
East Kilbride

AS a volunteer for the NSPCC’s Childline service I have seen first-hand how lockdown has impacted a generation of children. Combined with the closure of schools and the lack of contact with their usual support networks, many already vulnerable children have been placed at increased risk of mental health difficulties.

Since lockdown began, Childline has delivered more than 2,600 counselling sessions to children in Scotland for support with mental and emotional health issues, including suicidal thoughts and feelings. It is vital that children know we are still here for them and that Childline can continue to provide a vital lifeline for them.

This is why I am appealing to your readers to remember us in their will this Remember a Charity Week (September 7-13). Leaving a legacy can have an incredible impact – the amount we receive through legacies is the equivalent of the cost of running our schools’ Speak Out Stay Safe programme and Childline combined for a year.

As we move from crisis to recovery, we need your help to continue to support children during this challenging, ever-changing situation and beyond. To find out how you can help please call 020 7825 2505 or visit nspcc.org.uk/guardian

Kat McMahon
Volunteer for NSPCC Scotland’s Childline service

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Rosemary Barry’s long letter (New headteacher started at a school she could not visit, September 5).

It brought back a flood of wonderful memories of walks on Lismore Island. In the 1970s my wife and myself were frequent visitors to the Airds Hotel in Port Appin, which at that time was owned and run by Eric and Betty Allan.

We used to walk down to the Port Appin ferry terminal and take the 10-minute journey on the passenger ferry across to Lismore. We would go for a walk along the road heading south, and what struck us most was the peace and tranquillity. We seldom saw a car and the only other “travellers” were the grazing sheep.

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Later in my career, when I was working in the Sahel region of Africa with the scorching heat and dry arid conditions, I would often reflect on these afternoons spent on Lismore and wondered why I had ever left Scotland!

Rosemary Barry’s reflections regarding Alexander Carmichael’s achievements are a timely reminder of the massive contribution that the islanders have made to Scotland’s culture, not only at home but also by those who were burned out of their homes during the notorious Highland Clearances and forced to emigrate to all corners of the globe.

Thomas L Inglis