Open letter response to Jim Moohan, chairman of HospitalWatch.

Thank you for your recent letter regarding the GP out-of-hours service at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

Firstly, I want to confirm that the health board remains totally committed to providing a high quality out-of-hours service to all communities across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

This commitment clearly extends to the population currently served by the Vale of Leven GP out-of-hours service.

However, the out-of-hours service across Scotland is facing significant challenges in staffing existing centres and home visiting services.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is no different in experiencing these issues.

As a result, when not enough GPs were available to work in the out-of-hours centres, the service at the Vale of Leven Hospital and some of our other sites have had to close for short periods over recent months.

This situation is being addressed and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the local health and social care partnerships are reviewing how the service might be made more sustainable for all our local communities.

This review will take into account the recommendations of the national review of the GP out-of-hours service undertaken by Sir Lewis Ritchie.

At the same time, we are consulting with GPs and evaluating how we can best use the services of the existing cohort who currently volunteer to work out of hours.

We have also increased the pay rates over the summer months to encourage more GPs to volunteer to work out of hours.

Hopefully, this letter will reassure you that the health board will continue to provide an out-of-hours service for West Dunbartonshire, and Argyll and Bute.

John Brown CBE,


NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

I HAVE taken a keen interest in the proposed developments (Flamingo Land) and have become increasingly aware of the information vacuum about the proposals and the lack of a consultation process.

I have thus been persuaded to create an open Facebook group- Balloch Responds- as a forum for residents to express their opinions.

I intend to advertise this widely by leaflet drop and to send out direct invitations to all the major stakeholders; The Park Authority, MSP, councillors, businesses, the press and Iconic Leisure Developments.

This is your invitation to join.

Trevor Scott,

via email

TO Absent Friends, the people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance, returns in November, and organisations from across Scotland are being invited to take part, with the help of a small grants scheme.

The festival, started in 2014, gives people across Scotland the opportunity to remember loved ones who have died, through stories, celebrations and acts of reminiscence.

November has long been associated with remembrance of the dead, through traditions like Samhain and All Souls’ Day.

To Absent Friends is reviving those lost traditions and helping to create new ones.

In previous years, the festival has featured storytelling evenings, poetry nights, photography exhibitions, concerts, scrapbooking workshops, cafes of reminiscence, and hundreds of private acts of remembrance, but all ideas are welcome. The more creative, the better!

Organisations can apply for grants of up to £250 to hold an event as part of the festival.

The festival is particularly keen to help small, local organisations to create public opportunities for storytelling and remembrance of people who have died.

Full details of how to apply are available on the festival website,, which also has many more suggestions for ways in which people can participate.

To Absent Friends has really captured people’s imaginations since we started it in 2014.

There have been some very poignant and moving events, as well as many lighter moments shared.

Just because someone has died doesn’t mean they are not a part of our lives any more.

They are there in our stories and memories. The festival gives people time and space to remember those people – whether it’s just raising a glass, or something more formal. In this day and age, we don’t often stop and do that.

To Absent Friends will take place across Scotland from 1 – 7 November 2017.

Robert Peacock,

development manager,

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

I AM writing to invite your readers to host a World Tea Party this summer in support of working animal charity SPANA.

Putting on a Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, or another world-themed party, offers everyone the chance to get together with friends and try out tasty new recipes, while also raising much-needed funds to help the world’s most hardworking animals.

In the poorest countries worldwide, working animals transport goods to markets, children to schools, and water and supplies to remote communities – supporting the livelihoods of one billion people.

SPANA’s work providing free veterinary treatment for these animals is so vital, helping to ensure that they can lead a life free from suffering.

There are plenty of exciting recipes to try out, including new delicious treats provided by chefs Ken Hom and Kiran Jethwa. I hope your readers will get behind this campaign and give them a go.

The SPANA World Tea Party fundraising pack, full of free recipes, is available from or by calling 020 7831 3999.

Jessie Hill,

SPANA World,

Tea Party Hostess

AFTER it has been reported that the Scottish Government may escape EU fines over their on going late CAP payments fiasco thanks to UK wide CAP payments arriving on time, it seems that any progress the Scottish Government has been making has completely stalled.

Shockingly 1300 farmers are still to receive CAP payments. Just 126 payments were made last week, which represents a significant drop from the previous rate of 1745 in the week before the deadline.

Last week £1m of payments were made – compared to £59 million in the week before the deadline.

Under European rules 95 per cent of payments should have been made by 30 June, but the Scottish Government fell short, only reaching 90.4 per cent.

The Scottish Government was forced to request an extension from the European Commission for the second year running.

In contrast, Defra made 99.2 per cent of payments in England by the end of June deadline.

Media reports suggest that this UK-wide progress could spare Scotland heavier fines.

Audit Scotland recently warned that European fines of up to £60 million are possible if the troubled CAP IT system does not work.

How much longer will the separatists continue to starve our rural economy with their incompetence?

Like I have said many times before rural Scotland deserves better than the urban obsessed separatists.

Alastair Redman,


I AM spectacularly under concerned at the level of the BBC’s remuneration of popular entertainers whose programmes are no doubt marketed by the Corporation at a profit.

What is hard to stomach is the proportion of my licence fee being spent on mere newsreaders when surely such “talent” can be sourced cheaply from regional programmes.

Even better, with Brexit in prospect, the BBC should look to recruit more broadcasters from our former colonies in the West Indies where wages may be low but the standards of literacy and spoken language seem infinitely superior to those currently obtaining in this benighted land.

John Eoin Douglas,


On behalf of the Directors of Helensburgh Tree Conservation Trust, I should like to thank the many members and friends who joined us at our Tree Planting Ceremony to celebrate Helensburgh’s street trees becoming a member of the National Tree Collections of Scotland.

You can support us by joining or donating to the Trust by:

* visiting our web site:

* phoning the secretary: 01436 673310

Elma Hannah,

James Street,