Letters to the editor

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From our August 30, 2013, edition

Sir, I was interested to read about the current roadworks affecting the A904 at Newton; apparently West Lothian Council are installing traffic lights at the junction with Duddingston Terrace.

I am just wondering why a road which has a speed limit of 30mph at this location would need traffic lights? I would suggest that the junction with the A904/M9/B8046 is badly in need of traffic lights or similar, to slow the speed of the traffic that uses it; speed limit of 50mph is exceeded in many cases.

In addition, there are many accidents at this location over the years that I have been commuting to South Queensferry; your heart is in your mouth every time you pass this junction.

So, WLC, please have some sense and use your funding where it is really needed. — Yours etc.,

Sarah Swan,


Sir, I would like to briefly respond to Dr David Farquharson’s comment on A & E at St John’s Hospital in last week’s Journal and Gazette.

For Dr Farquharson to be complaining about media coverage is ironic, since it is his Board’s contradictory public statements that have led to any confusion that may exist. And there is much more to this story than he will admit.

It is true that NHS Lothian has worked very hard to shore up paediatrics and A&E in the face of a nationwide shortage of trained doctors. But NHS Lothian knew this years ago, and did very little to tackle it. He claims there is no change to A&E services. There is. And if he is saying different, why, oh why do Board papers say there will be guidance given to the Scottish Ambulance Service to divert additional patients to Edinburgh? True, they may not be formally altering the diversionary policy, but they are altering it by stealth.

And on the subject of A&E doctors, it is only as a result of increasing public pressure that a solution, albeit fragile, has been found. NHS Lothian did not have a plan. When we raised the issues in the public domain, before the Board did, they came up with increased consultant hours (2) for the daytime hours. They then created the grandly named Clinical Development Fellows as a stop gap to prevent their contingency plans for a significantly greater downgrade becoming a reality.

NHS Lothian’s response to public outcry is a newsletter, claimed to be the “only” source of the facts. Rather than fillers about how well-equipped the hospital is to change to a huge canteen, they could start by using the remaining blank space constructively-and truthfully. More importantly, that none of this would have been in the public domain without dedicated and vigorous campaigning by the West Lothian community.

NHS Lothian has proven an unwilling participant in public meetings across West Lothian-until pressured to do so. To be challenged publicly is anathema to their belief that they know best. On all the evidence, they do not, and the ongoing crisis management that sees one of our most important and revered public bodies lurch from crisis to crisis is an embarrassment to everyone but them.

— Yours etc.,

Gordon Beurskens

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