I HAVE bitten my tongue on this subject for some time and can well understand why the Scottish Government’s comments on the matter are low-key and placatory. Any robust response would invite the jackals of the press and BBC to a feast of carrion. I am not thus constrained.

The death of anybody is a tragedy and the deaths of children can never be seen as anything other than the worst experience a loving parent can endure. I spent 42 years in nursing and never became inured to the pain and anguish suffered by the bereaved. It is perfectly understandable that parents who have lost a child will, in their distress, seek explanation, feel an urge to apportion blame and succumb to the instinct to lash out in expression of their loss.

What is not understandable, except in one sense, is the effort being made by the media, in particular the BBC, to exploit the deaths of children for political purposes. Allegation and innuendo regarding supposed cause and the reaction of the Health Secretary to events which are beyond her control, especially from the mouth of the odious Carlaw, are being made for the sole purpose of making the government look bad and thereby discouraging voters from supporting the SNP.

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Children die in hospital. That is a simple, desperately regrettable fact and, despite the best efforts of dedicated, motivated, under-appreciated staff, it will continue to happen. My heart bleeds for the parents, it bleeds even more for the children, but the constant recycling of assumption about water contamination which, at this distance, is unlikely to be proven and impossible to be disproven, will neither assuage the grief nor bring the children back.

A matter which should be investigated in the hopes of preventing recurrence is being cynically used for the worst of reasons by people who do not care for the children, the parents or the staff, who definitely did not just stand there and say it had nothing to do with them.

The Scottish NHS outperforms all the others in the UK, in some instances by an astonishing margin, whilst the supporters of the party which fought the very idea of universal care from the word go sit on the sidelines and denigrate. Their party is ready to accede to the demands of a US Government who think, rightly, that it is scandalous that US citizens pay many times the price paid by UK patients for the same drugs. It occurs to none of them that the US citizens are being overcharged, because the right of the shareholder to contribute neither time nor effort in the process of bleeding the rest of us dry is paramount.

The Tories and the BBC are using the deaths of children as a political battering ram because they have no other answer to the desire of the Scots to divorce themselves from the abusive relationship which we have endured for more than 300 years. They care neither for the children nor the parents, because one would watch idly whilst the other destroys the system on which all of us depend.

My wee brother died in Falkirk Royal Infirmary in 1947. Would they care to investigate and expose that tragedy? No. It was prior to the inception of the health service and would serve only to remind us that had it been a year or two later, he might have survived. Let us not leave the fate of the Scottish NHS in the hands of those who would sell it out from under us, and not even necessarily to the highest bidder!

Les Hunter

LABOUR’S “audacious” plan to compensate the WASPI women will apparently cost a “staggering” £58 billion. How could we possibly pay for that? We have no “money tree”, as Mr Johnson says. Actually, cancelling HS2 (£80bn), Trident (£100bn), North/South Crossrail in London (£??) and not leaving the EU (£50bn) would pay for it more than four times over. As the little meerkat says: ‘’Simples’’.

Nick Dekker