Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines
No choice here
Dear Ed, – Readers will be aware of the concerns of patients of Carstairs Surgery following the opening of a pharmacy business in the village.
Their fears turn out to be well founded as the practive has now been instructed to close its much valued dispensing service at the end of March.
Three members of staff, one with over 20 years of service, are being made redundant.
A reduction in the medical services provided is likely to follow. The income from dispensing, which has hitherto been available to the practice, will now go to one of several local commercial pharmacies.
It has become clear that the Scottish Government has put in place pharmacy legislation which not only fails to take patients’ views into account, but actually prevents them.
The Scottish Government’s legislation is heavily biased in favour of commercial pharmacy interests and against the interests of patients. The choice patients have benefited from for many years between having medication dispensed by the medical practice or taking their prescription to a pharmacy has been removed.
This is in contrast to the situation in England where dispensing by medical practices continues, even if there is a pharmacy nearby. Carstairs patients are being denied a choice which is available to their English counterparts.
All this is bad enough, but it gets worse! It seems likely that many patients will choose not to take their prescriptions to the new pharmacy, which has triggered the problems, but will exercise their right to go elsewhere. If this happens the new pharmacy may not be financially viable.
A member of Lanarkshire Health Board has indicated that should this be the case, a grant of up to £47,500 per annum would be available to support it! He added: “But it doesn’t come out of our budget”.
It may not come out of their budget but we can be sure it comes out of the taxpayers’.
If this is how things eventually turn out then patients at Carstairs Surgery will feel that the Scottish Government has succeeded in swindling them twice, once as patients and a second time as taxpayers. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – Regardless of differences of opinion, one thing that unites politicians is the need to address Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.
Our culture of drinking has wide-spread repercussions on services like the NHS and police and, more importantly, on families who struggle to cope with the devastating impact of abuse in homes across the country.
Earlier this week the Parliament debated the issue of minimum unit pricing as a measure to tackle Scotland’s drinking culture.
While the idea of charging a minimum price per unit of alcohol sounds, on the face of it, like an attractive proposal, I am not convinced that it would deliver the change in attitudes and behaviour that the Scottish Government claims.
My chief concern with minimum pricing is that it will deliver a sizable windfall to large supermarkets without any mechanism to see that money re-invested in education and services to address the underlying causes of harmful drinking. However, despite my misgivings about the proposal, it is clear that minimum pricing has sufficient support to pass through Parliament and the priority must now be to widen the debate and focus on making a positive contribution towards tackling Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.
With that goal in mind, colleagues in Scottish Labour have launched a consultation on a new member’s bill with wide-ranging proposals to tackle the culture of drinking.
These include measures to further tighten up promotion of alcohol products to stop them getting into the hands of underage drinkers; a greater role for communities in licensing decisions; and providing routes into treatment for offenders passing through the criminal justice system to ensure rehabilitation.
These proposals are not intended as an alternative to minimum pricing and acknowledge that alcohol is a complex problem requiring a range of different actions.
The Scottish Government has correctly stated that there is no silver bullet to eradicate Scotland’s alcohol culture and I hope that they will engage positively with this consultation to investigate these proposals and take them forward. – Yours etc.,
CLAUDIA BEAMISH MSP,
Member of the Scottish Parliament for South Scotland.
Our war horses
Dear Ed, – War Horse, The Real Story, Channel 4, Sunday, March 4, 2000-2100 hrs.
Did anyone else notice, in this interesting Channel Four story, a short piece of archive footage showing working horses being rounded up for use in the battlefields of Europe. (circa 1916 I would think).
The scene was of the bottom of Lanark High St. with St Nicholas Church and Wallace very clearly in the background.
Local farmers, I presume, were leading their horses toward the Station so they might serve “their” country. – Yours etc.,
Bin wind appeal
Dear Ed, – I was appalled to read about the proposed appeal by Energy4All about the proposed erection of massive windfarms near Cartland and Kilncadzow.
Both communities as well as South Lanarkshire Council have clearly rejected the original proposals.
It is grossly unfair that Energy4All should deliberately ignore the democratic wishes of the people and subject them to years of misery, not to mention flouting the Council.
Frankly this is unacceptable and I hope that this appeal is consigned to the dustbin of history. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – In response to information the council supplied the Gazette for the front page article “Lanark Loch in our garden” (Carluke Gazette, Feb 29).
I have never personally had any requests from the loss adjusters acting on behalf of the PPP for information regarding my case.
They were dealing with my solicitors who could not conclude the case because of missing information.
I have had no dealings with the solicitor since September 2011. All my dealings with SLC have been done through Councillor Eileen Logan.
On December 13 2011 I received a note asking for written confirmation from my insurers that they were taking no further action before the council could reconsider my case; soon after they gave me written confirmation that they also were taking nothing to do with the case!
I have all the documentation and have sent copies to the Scottish public services ombudsman. – Yours etc.,