Letters – 01.8.19

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In defence of Connel surgery

We have read with dismay the article by Kathie Griffiths published in The Oban Times of Thursday 18 July 2019, which maligns, criticises, and condemns the GPs and practice manager of the Taynuilt Medical Practice.

While understanding the desire of Mr Ian Johnstone to obtain an essential capacity assessment and report on his 18-year-old adoptive son Daniel it is devastating to read his scathing, unjustified and disparaging comments (reported in the article) on the hard-working, dedicated medical practitioners of the practice.

We have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the comments made in this article but feel obliged to challenge some of them.

For example Mr Johnstone is quoted as saying there are 10 doctors working at the Medical Practice – this is simply untrue as there are only six (three full-time and three part-time) covering an extensive geographical area of Connel, Taynuilt and Dalmally. If they say they cannot do something for whatever reason this should be accepted and not be justification to condemn and criticise them for their honesty and accuse them of “…totally negating their duty of care…”.

Shame on Mr Johnstone for believing this and even stating such an unjustified opinion. He also states that when Daniel has had a medical appointment “…he has rarely been seen by the same GP”. In response to this Mr Johnstone should realise that is not unusual in the real world. Doctors are human and need time off.

We note in a further article on this matter on 25 July 2019 that Daniel has had his final assessment done and still Mr Johnstone is having another dig saying “he had no contact from Connel Surgery yet”. It makes us wonder why he would expect contact after it had been made clear “…that the GPs felt they were not experienced enough to do it” (i.e. an assessment on Daniel).

Our experience and that of our friends, colleagues and contacts is that Taynuilt Medical Practice gives sterling service, demonstrating their dedication, devotion and absolute unselfish duty of care to all of us. How fortunate we are to have such a service available to us.
Jean Calder, Constance Calder, Margaret Millar, Taynuilt

Lochaber Geopark thanks

The volunteers at Lochaber Geopark wish to thank all those who contributed to our recent Crowdfunding Campaign, presented by Paul Murton. The money raised will go towards keeping our Visitor Centre open in Fort William High Street. Currently, it is open six days a week, 10am to 4pm, providing information and selling locally made crafts and geological items.

We would like to keep it open longer but need more volunteers to do so. Our local primary schools have made good use of the Visitor Centre and its geological exhibits, the ‘iSandBox’ being especially popular.

We hope that they will be able to take advantage of our ‘Earth Explorers’ club for young people and, of course, we will continue to offer geology-based walks and talks to schools, clubs and societies, as well as the general public, at any level of understanding, but we still depend on our volunteers, donations and sales to survive.
Jim Blair, Chairman, Lochaber Geopark.

In praise of Bob MacIntyre

It was my great privilege to attend yet another Open at Royal Portrush, and to witness 22 year-old Oban golfer, Robert MacIntyre, finish tied sixth in his first major championship.

It was a wonderful performance and confirmation of the talent and the temperament we, the journalists, felt sure he had.

He is now a euro millionaire, but he remains an open, helpful and cheerful lad with both feet firmly planted on the ground, thanks to a great family and strong desire to remain in his home town.

I was at Glencruiten for the first time in June and soon discovered why Robert wants to go back there on a regular basis after weeks on tour. It’s a terrific club, no heirs and graces.

They are very proud of Robert, and rightly so, but I very much doubt if they would allow him to lose his down-to-earth approach to international recognition.
Jock MacVicar, Southend-born Scottish Daily Express golf correspondent and long-time Dunaverty member.

Red Squirrels could have a home on Mull

You recently published a charming picture of red squirrels at Kilninver.

Mull, some 10 miles from there, is forbidden these creatures, due to SNH’s decree that any species not present some 10,000 years’ ago, may be not introduced, under a policy which tries to restrict both its flora and fauna to those present at the last ice age.

Mull happens to be one of two or three places around Britain which could offer a grey squirrel, disease-free sanctuary to red ones, which are, of course, endangered.

As far as I know there are no reasonable scientific or other arguments for continuing to treat Mull in this inflexible way.

Over the years maybe hundreds of so-called banned species have settled here, including quite a few with aggressively bad habits (e.g. mink and rhododendron ponticum).

Mull’s ecology does not differ that much from Kilniver’s.

There is certainly no way back to the ice age scenario (not least farming and forestry would have be radically reshaped).

Sadly, SNH have drawn an implacable red line in this instance and are not prepared even to discuss the merits or otherwise of a controlled, easily reversible and risk free, trial to see if a small colony could be sustained on Mull.

This seems short-sighted, given the way global warming and other environment changes mean that threatened species need all the help they can get. Somehow a lot has happened since the last ice age and maybe it’s time to move on a wee bit.
James Harmer, Gruline House, Isle of Mull