Letters to the Editor

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Open Letter

Health provision update sought

Dear Professor Connell,
It was with interest that I read the article with the headline, ‘Health Centre almost ‘out of the woods’ after staffing crisis’.

I was very pleased to read that the situation at Brechin Health Centre is much more positive than it was 12 months ago.

However, at the meeting of the Brechin Patient Participation Group (PPG) on Tuesday evening, February 28, I was taken aback that the article appeared to come as a surprise to staff members of the health centre, and I sensed that the picture painted by Gail Smith, Head of Community Health and Care Services, was not quite as rosy from the point of view of the members of staff.

If the picture painted by the board is not accurate then peoples’ experience may well lead them to mistrust the 
communications from the board.

Also, it is for others to judge whether staff are well trained. What patients are interested in are the services they and their families will receive. If they are jubilant when they see the same member of staff they saw last time this reflects the fact that they value continuity of care and that this is a rare event. This reflects a state of staffing which is at odds with the description. Patients may well think twice about trying to contact the health centre because they remain apprehensive.

At the drop-in information session in Montrose by Angus Health and Social Care Partnership on Wednesday, February 15, Gail Smith, in a long conversation with members of the public, seemed to indicate that Brechin and Montrose Infirmaries will be closing permanently, and that Stracathro Hospital, and if possible the Mulberry Unit, could be utilised for the provision of services. This causes me serious concern as this precedes any consultation with the community. Again communication seems at odds with experience.

If Brechin Infirmary remains closed and there is no consultation about the future of the services locally then the community draws the conclusion that, 1) they are going to remain closed, 2) that their views do not matter and, 3) there are plans to which we are not privy which are going to happen whatever.

I would ask you, therefore, to clarify the situation at Brechin Health Centre and what decisions have been made by Angus IJB and NHS Tayside regarding all the healthcare provision in the north east of Angus.

This includes decisions about the future of Brechin Health Centre, Brechin Minor Injuries Unit, Brechin and Montrose Infirmaries including the Maternity Unit and Stracathro Hospital including the Mulberry Unit.

I would greatly appreciate an honest and transparent answer.

Grahame Lockhart


Brechin Healthcare Group


In the interests of local people

Sir, – For the past 10 years it has been my privilege to serve as a councillor for the Montrose area.

I have decided it is time to retire and I am not standing for re-election on Thursday, May 4.

I have always supported good value for money, even when Angus Council has faced cuts imposed by the Scottish Government. I disagree with spending huge sums to employ consultants to make recommendations concerning what we should cut. My preference is to spend the money we do have on services, not on consultants. I have also argued strongly against the SNP Government’s centralisation agenda, as I believe local people know best what the local priorities should be.

In the last few years I have sometimes been disappointed when councillors put their party’s interests before the interests of their ward. While I have been a councillor, I have always made it a priority to put my ward first in any votes on the council. I am glad the Scottish Liberal Democrats give their councillors the freedom to vote as we see fit and to make our own judgements on behalf of the people we represent.

We must protect services for the increasing numbers of elderly people in Angus. I have opposed the cuts being made and the threats to our local health services which so many elderly people depend on.

I am passionate about education. I believe all our young people deserve to get the most out of their time at school and college. The cuts imposed by the Scottish Government are the reverse of what should be happening.

Although in a few weeks I will no longer be a councillor, I will continue to fight for the things I see as most important. These are: an expansion of resources into our schools; the re-instatement of college places; the retention of the Mulberry Unit; and access to a local infirmary for all our residents.

The voters of Montrose & District will be choosing four new councillors to represent them on Thursday, May 4. Whoever those councillors are, I hope they’ll keep the interests of local people at the forefront of their minds. – Yours, etc.,

David May

(by email)


Democracy cannot be abused

Sir, – It seems our illustrious First Minister is determined to lead her fanatic support onto the rocks of economic oblivion on the back of the confused Green Party who now support nuclear defence, fracking, and independence.

The first minister cannot guarantee entry to the EEC – only an application which could be refused or held up for years pending approval. Meanwhile what about Scotland? What currency and how will it be valued against the Euro? What will be our representation on the council? Can we afford hard borders with England and Northern Ireland? Have we a large enough Navy to patrol our waters and oil installations? How will the country survive in view of the fact we cannot even get a plausible budget for the year?

But most important how is it possible for any country bound by fiscal policy, currency, legislation, trading agreements and policies for fishing and agriculture, along with executive procedures, to convince Scots they are independent. How many of us realised that a vote for the SNP at the Scottish election was a vote for indy2 – or were many of the electorate unaware?

The local elections for Scotland are not long away, and my hope is that contrary to past years, people get out to vote in large numbers to remind the nationalists that they cannot abuse democracy by changing the vote to suit themselves.

NB. Only 55 per cent of Scots voted in the Brexit referendum, which was for the United Kingdom of which we are a part, not Scotland alone, and 62 per cent of those who voted wanted to remain (34 per cent).

Scotland needs the electorate to accept their civil responsibility and save the country now. – Yours, etc.,

Alan Bell