AS a retired nurse and having worked in the NHS for most of my career, I would like to point out a fact that is being ignored by Boris Johnson and his ministers as they fail to get a grip on this pandemic.

During the run-up to Brexit, European nurses were “encouraged” to go back home by threat of having their registration to work in this country revoked after Britain left the EU. Now we are being told by NHS leaders that the current crisis is greatly exacerbated by a shortage of qualified nursing staff.

READ MORE: Fact Check: Are the SNP 'too slow' on vaccine rollout?

This inconvenient truth is not mentioned by Johnson, Hancock or Patel as they stumble from one cock-up to the next. But hey, it was the will of the people!

Terry Keegans
Beith, North Ayrshire

EMILY Jamison’s excellent article “Major incident called over virus surge in London” (January 9) highlights the outcome of what I would suggest is the result of a laissez-faire attitude towards the coronavirus by the Westminster Government which has been ably assisted by the BBC’s reporting.

Every day in Scotland the the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon publishes the facts regarding the number of deaths and the numbers in hospital with Covid-19, which is then reported by the BBC. I find it nearly impossible to find the similar facts for England as the BBC periodically tends to report the facts for the UK as a whole.

This means that the actual performance of PM Boris Johnson and his Health Secretary Matt Hancock in respect to England, for which they are responsible, escapes scrutiny.

Thomas L Inglis

IF I could choose a favourite aunt it would be the twinkly-eyed Ruth Wishart. Her Miss Marple-like scalpel, forensically slicing away all the bullshit, presents the reader with the clarity you won’t find in any other publication.

I was sorely tempted to write about the whole vaccination priority thing but deemed it to be too controversial. Hence after Sunday’s column, I doffed my imaginary cap to the aforementioned honorary member of my family (Are the wrong people at the top of the vaccination priority list?, January 10).

READ MORE: Ruth Wishart: Are the wrong people at the top of the Covid-19 vaccination priority list?

I can’t help but think that those facing the twilight of their years in care homes, if asked who should get the vaccines first, would selflessly point to others immediately.

In my experience, elderly residents of care homes are pragmatic about death—they see it on a regular basis. During a charity auction in one care home, I witnessed an elderly man collapse amongst a group of resident bidders. He was attended to, of course, but the auction continued and I later found out he did not survive.

Personally I can think of lots of people who should get the vaccine before me but I’ll be there, baring my arm when called on.

Mike Herd

IT is time for Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond to sit down together and sort things out between them. They have got stuck in a judicial process of blame and guilt and point-scoring about who knew what on what date, and all the rest of it.

I don’t think I am alone in thinking that are much bigger issues we should be talking about in Scotland. This situation is sucking too many people who care about Scotland into a polarised and ultimately futile debate.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross fury as Leslie Evans rejects SNP 'propaganda' claim

The current and previous first ministers would also be doing themselves a big favour. From where we are now, the only way either of them can come out of this well is to reach out to each other.

Alex will never leave the political scene. If he survived a horrific court case, he will survive anything. If Nicola is forced to resign, then those who brought

this about will lose the trust and respect of a wide section of the population. I call on those with influence and wisdom in Scottish public life to help our leaders to begin a process of reconciliation and forgiveness that reflects the best of Scottish values.

John McLeod

REGARDING the article by Lesley Riddoch on virtual celebrations, the Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum will be holding the world’s foremost Burns Supper in Burns Cottage. It will be streamed at 7pm on the Bard’s birthday, January 25.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: How to reclaim our Bard's legacy for a Burns Night like no other

The first recorded Burns Supper was held in the cottage of his birth in 1801 and continued to be held there until 1809 before relocating to the Kings Arms Hotel in Ayr. We reintroduced the Burns Supper to the cottage in 2016 and resolved to make it an annual event on January 25 each year. This we did until we hit the buffers for 2021.

We may have done so physically this year, but not virtually. For further details visit our website, We are a registered charity and all donations received are passed to support the National Trust for Scotland at their Alloway site, all Burns-related.

Hugh Farrell
Chair, FRBBM