Scotsman Letters: Can Matheson still be entrusted with responsibility for health?

I am totally shocked by those (no doubt many who are SNP apologists) who have leapt to the defend the Scotland Health Secretary, Michael Matheson, after his theatrical, cringeworthy, personal statement to the Holyrood Parliament.
Health Secretary Michael Matheson during a visit to the Thistle Foundation in Edinburgh with First Minister Humza YousafHealth Secretary Michael Matheson during a visit to the Thistle Foundation in Edinburgh with First Minister Humza Yousaf
Health Secretary Michael Matheson during a visit to the Thistle Foundation in Edinburgh with First Minister Humza Yousaf

Have standards of morality in Scotland really sunk so low that lying by a senior government minister until he was found out is now acceptable? Is it really right to blame opposition Scottish government politicians and our free press for daring to investigate, expose and oppose such behaviour?

In times gone by First Minister Henry McLeish and Wendy Alexander were mercilessly hounded by SNP politicians and the media and honourably resigned for lesser misdemeanours.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

How can First Minister Humza Yousaf robustly defend Michael Matheson, despite his lies, as “a man of honesty and integrity” (The Scotsman, November 17)? Could it simply be that Humza Yousaf doesn’t want to have to replace his friend as health minister as “there is a lack of ministerial talent within the SNP ranks”?

At present, despite the heroic efforts of hardworking doctors and nurses, Scotland’s health service is at breaking-point and patients’ suffering is likely to worsen with the arrival of winter.

In these circumstances, I cannot help wondering if it is advisable to continue to entrust responsibility for it to a health minister who has shown himself to be so economical with the truth?

Sally Gordon-Walker, Edinburgh

Gaza ceasefire

The SNP motion calling for a ceasefire In Gaza has just been voted on in the House of Commons. Fifty-six Labour MPs rightly supported this, opposing Sir Keir Starmer.

These Labour MPs support international humanitarian law as is normal in responsible politics. Well done to them. The MPs do not support war crimes – those of Hamas which needs held to account for their crimes and those of Israel, which has responsibilities to hold to humanitarian law within their own borders.

But Mr Starmer, a human rights lawyer, now does not uphold international humanitarian law, nor Ian Murray, Labour MP in Edinburgh and the other Labour MPs. They do not insist these crimes stop: depriving innocent people of water, food, energy and medicines; killing indiscriminately, including a huge percentage of children.

The UN is warning of ‘mass ethnic cleansing’ driving people from their homes and land and has denounced ‘crimes against humanity’. They have also argued ‘there is a risk of genocide against the Palestinians’, a semitic people. It is important MPs have principles and work for peace internationally right now. Why is it that most Labour MPs and their leader have abandoned morality and the rule of law and do the opposite?

Pol Yates, Edinburgh

A&E appeal

The news that Fife Health Board has continued to slam the door on A&E returning to Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline, has become untenable. Both they and the Scottish Government need to urgently consider returning full services, eg maternity and the hospice, and reopening those crucial wards, eg high dependency and coronary, inexcusably mothballed since 2012.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dunfermline today is the fastest growing urban area in the country and the third most improving in Britain.It will be at a 100K population in 2030 due to the western expansion. Recently designated a city, Dunfermline has historical, royal and industrial heritage; is a commuter dormitory for Edinburgh, is a location for cruise passengers, has local employment in finance, communications, technology and shipbuilding and has the new £200m education campus.

It was back in 2012 that Fife Health Board made the inexplicable decision to upgrade the antiquated tiny 1950s Victoria Hospital in Gordon Brown's home town of Kirkcaldy, despite its declining population.

Fife Health Board point out they face financial pressures, staffing issues, long waiting lists and increasing demands, but those are not impacted by a hospital's location. Indeed, with so many NHS staff living in the Lothians, it may be ameliorated.

The decision to locate the one major acute hospital in an area with a smaller population is risible. Dunfermline needs a fully functioning hospital and it will be a major local issue at the general election.

John V. Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife

EU membership

Angus Robertson may well claim that 'an independent Scotland could join EU within two years' (The Scotsman, November 18 ) but he refused to answer the question as to why Brussels would even talk to a political party who, in 2019, turned down the opportunity to remain within the EU on the same terms as Norway.

When Nicola Sturgeon and her 35 MPs at Westminster failed to support the Tory bill to remain within the customs union the first question requiring an answer is why has the SNP done a U-turn over such a policy, especially as the Cabinet secretary gave no explanation to the press at the Queen Margaret University meeting?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas

VAT cut hopes

It is generally reported that the Chancellor has ‘a headroom’ of £13bn to improve the economy due to better-than-expected tax receipts, and the favourite for most of the largesse is tax cuts.

However, there are other claimants to the crown – the NHS, potholes, business rates and corporation tax to name but a few, although general tax cuts will be on most peoples’ wish list, as well as being a vote catcher.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Chancellor will probably spread it around so that everyone gets something, although not many will be completely satisfied. A reduction in VAT would help everyone.

The answer is that we will have to wait for the Autumn Statement – unless. of course. some wily civil servant spills the beans to his/her favourite reporter.

James Macintyre, Linlithgow

We welcome your thoughts – NO letters submitted elsewhere, please. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line – be specific. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.




Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.