Sir, – It seems another week passes and another nail is hammered into the coffin of the dualling of the A96 Inverness-Aberdeen project.
For years this most dangerous of roads in Scotland (The Press and Journal, November 18)has had plans (2014) then design and route approval since 2019, but since the Greens/SNP alliance of 2021, the process has stalled, with the latest significant fallout from the dithering, being the Mott, McDonald Sweco joint venture who are pulling out of Moray.
As your Editor’s Comment (January 5) said: “Only one thing is certain: the SNP has chosen not to deliver on its long-standing promise to the north-east” and “hides meekly behind the Greens”.
In my opinion, it is clear the Greens don’t give a fig for the safety of road users on the north-east’s busiest carriageway, and the SNP transport minister dishes out limp excuses for public consumption akin to a gardener feeding mushrooms, when he states he “will not build infrastructure to cater for unrestrained increases of traffic volumes” due to climate concerns.
He forgets that by the time the road gets built all vehicles will be electric or a variant of it, therefore no climate concerns; so let’s get the road built and fast-track the project for shovels to hit the ground ASAP.
Angus McNair, Farnachty, Clochan, Buckie.
Look at full NHS picture on Covid
Sir, – A new year has dawned but the headlines paint the same bleak picture.
Because of the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, hospitals are under unprecedented pressure due to both the increased admission of patients with the virus and staff absences because they are infected. As a consequence, our screens display alarming headlines such as today when a group of hospitals “cancel surgery as NHS pressure mounts”. Thankfully this only involved certain non-urgent operations.
While well aware surgery makes dramatic viewing, with pictures of patients with tubes extending from every available orifice, it is important to remember hospitals exist for the treatment of many conditions that never have and never will require the intervention of the surgeon’s scalpel.
Wards for the treatment of haematological conditions are, in most hospitals, among the busiest but are rarely mentioned.
To a patient with leukaemia, chemotherapy is just as life-saving, although less dramatic, as aortic valve replacement is to one with heart disease. Watching a fluid drip slowly into a patient’s arm can never match the drama of a surgeon in full flow.
Focusing on how often operations are being cancelled gives no indication as to how well a hospital is coping in these trying times as surgery is only one in a group of equally important and often interdependent specialities.
Just as in life no man is an island, in medicine no speciality stands alone.
Ivan W Reid, Kirkburn, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.
Rural area should have own budget
Sir, – I have to totally agree with Councillor Jim McGillivray (East Sutherland) (Letters, January 5) that expenditure covers all the luxuries of the capital but the rural area gets next to nothing.
Simple repairs like potholes, the replacement of a bus shelter for the school bairns, the servicing of the 20mph safety signs outside schools, drain cleaning etc get neglected.
Rural constituents pay council tax at the same rate as Inverness but do not enjoy pavements, street lights, libraries, swimming baths and so on.
The counties of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross should be administered in Golspie (Drummie) with their own budget separate from Glenurquhart Road.
Michael Baird, The Bank House, Dornoch Road, Bonar Bridge.