Letters to the Editor

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Hospital provides a fabulous service


The Oban Times story of the body in A&E was picked up in sensational fashion on the front page of the Daily Mail (June 30).

The effect of this is surely to undermine the morale of the colossally loyal and hard-working existing staff at Lorn and Islands Hospital in Oban, and makes it more difficult to attract new staff to come and work here. It must also have made it very distressing for the family involved.

Peter Bennie, of the BMA Scotland, said last week: ‘The financial difficulties facing the NHS in Scotland, and the pressures on our clinical workforce are unrelenting. Good health services cost money, and health spending is a political choice. We want the Scottish public to be consulted on what they need from the health service, and they must be told honestly how much it will cost.’

That is the point. Your paper, along with the whole people of this area, should be highlighting and supporting the superb service this whole area receives from its hospital in Oban, despite the constant budget cuts at local level, and the unwelcome problems caused by those cuts. Funding for NHS Scotland is in the hands of the Scottish Government. We all have a say in the matter.

Your contributor, David Pollard from Mull, makes a very good point about the ‘island proofing’ policy. By contrast, Michael Russell MSP, in your article, reveals the real Scottish Government direction of travel – ever increasing centralisation of services.

Mr Russell refers to Oban’s hospital as ‘doing all the things a community hospital does best’. Oban is not a community hospital; it is one of six district general hospitals, classified as such by Nicola Sturgeon.

There is a huge difference between the two categories of provision. For Oban to be downgraded to community hospital status would mean infinitely more patient services being transferred to Glasgow or Inverness, with all the uncertainty, cost, unnecessary travel and anonymity of service that implies.

The Oban Times is the voice of the people of Oban, Lorne and the Isles. Please will your editorial team become the champions of the vital services that are currently provided by Oban Lorn and Islands  Hospital as a district general facility.

The headline I look forward to seeing is: ‘Oban Times succeeds in saving Oban hospital service.’

Mike Robertson,


Saved from choking by superb team


Given the adverse publicity levelled at Lorn and Islands Hospital in Oban recently, I though you might welcome a letter of appreciation.

My husband, who is a survivor of oral cancer, relies on mouth swabs to clear detritus from his mouth as he had no swallowing reflex. These are small sticks with a sponge tip.

One night recently at 2.30am, he woke me to say a sponge tip had lodged in his throat and he was in danger of choking. I telephoned for an ambulance but none was available.

I therefore drove him to A&E and, as we turned in, he began to choke. However, we were seen immediately by the staff, who called a clinician who was there in less than five minutes, and removed the obstruction with dexterity – and good humour.

We are indebted to the hospital staff who undoubtedly resolved a situation which could have ended in tragedy.

Susana Garland,


MP seems to have selective memory


It was gratifying to ready that our newly re-elected MP Brendan O’Hara will represent all constituents in Argyll and Bute, no matter how the voted. I have always been under the impression this was the essential duty of all MPs, regardless of party.

However, I would suggest he let himself down badly by accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of calling the election in the interest of the Conservative Party rather than the country. This came from a member of a party whose leader has consistently put independence ahead of all other aspects of government and, as a result, lost 500,000 votes and 21 seats. Hypocritical in the extreme.

Mr O’Hara then criticises Mrs May’s ‘lame-duck’ government for relying on the DUP to stay in power. It has obviously slipped his mind that how own party, the SNP, depended on the votes of six insipid Green Party members to govern – if you will pardon the expression – Scotland. The adage of people in glass houses springs to mind.

Mr O’Hara concludes by hoping the government will now see the sense of having Scottish voices in the Brexit negotiations. Again, it would appear a selective memory is an essential SNP attribute as he seems to have forgotten the 13 Conservative, six Labour and two Lib Dem MPs the Scots sent to Westminster in place of his unseated colleagues, who will be available if required.

W B Coutts,

Laurel Crescent, Oban.

Support for victims of terrorist attacks


In recent months our country has witnessed terror attacks in Manchester and London.

In London, terrorists used knives and vehicles to kill and maim people, while in Manchester a suicide bomber killed and injured people attending a pop concert.

These terror tactics were first deployed in Israel and the parallels don’t stop there. The people carrying out these attacks are being taught to hate and they are then unleashing their hatred on innocent people across the world.

To defeat these terrible acts of violence nations have to be united against terror. Countries must work together on all fronts not just on the security and military solutions.

On that note I wanted to let your readers hear about one contribution that hasn’t been given national media coverage but merits recognition.

Three Israelis – Rabbi Dov Benyaacov-Kurtzman, Professor Yori Gidron and Dr Moshe Farchi – who have experience of working with victims of high trauma incidents in Israel set up trauma centres in the aftermath of the Manchester and London terror attacks. They provided direct support to the public and training for 90 mental health professionals.

If you want to send a message of thanks to the people who helped our country via our elected politicians then follow this link www.israelbritain.org.uk/news.

Susan Wallace,

Fort William.

Lament for the Scalpay peat-cutters


In recent months, far from being the informative and interesting newspaper it once was, The Oban Times has become nothing more than a highly-coloured advertising vehicle for every music festival in the Highlands, and a congratulatory broadsheet for all the swimmers, climbers, cyclists, bungee jumpers (not so much of that these days) and abseilers among us. All very commendable but not really what I fork out my 85p for.

For years I kept a scrapbook of snippets from the paper, but alas it has had to be abandoned. No more gems such as ‘the defence witness said he would have noticed if his friend had a meat cleaver tucked into his trousers’ and ‘the high jump was cancelled because campers had inadvertently burned the equipment’.

And as for the antics of the Rowan Club and the Scalpay peat-cutters – how I miss them.

Yes, you still have a few cracking columnists, but oh for the days when digital images weren’t quite so easy to come by and the columns had to be filled with words.

Glimpse through some of these wonderful old papers that we had the pleasure of reading on your 150th anniversary and let’s have a bit more effort at the content.

Trish Hurst,

Appeal for help to trace RAF skipper


When I was a foolish 11-year-old, I gave away my father’s RAF log book and medals. Now 50-odd years later, I am trying to piece together a dossier of his six years’ of serving in the RAF in the Second World War, earlier in Pathfinder Force and then for the remainder of the war, as flight sergeant, flying Lancasters, in Bomber Command 15 Squadron.

His skipper in Lancasters came from Oban and ran a garage or motor dealership. In the early sixties, my father visited him while touring Scotland.

I am hoping that one of your readers may be able to give me his skipper’s name so that the historian at 15 Squadron Association can use the name to unearth my father’s war records as I do not have his service number.

My email is gdroberts1@aol.com

Thank you in advance for any kind assistance.


Gordon Roberts

via email