Letters to the Editor – 14.7.22

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Belford hospital news

I was both glad and sad to read your article, Green light for new Belford, in the Lochaber Times last week, Thursday July 7.

Glad because it appears that it’s actually going to happen, and sad because it appears that it’s not going to happen for several years yet!
l don’t know what the actual plans entail, but l sincerely hope that a helipad is included therein, so that unfortunate victims of accidents on Ben Nevis and surrounding mountains can be taken to hospital in as short a time as possible after their initial rescue.
Davie Kerr, Ferry Reach, Onich.

The writing is on the wall

The end is in sight for our disaster prone and bungling Prime Minister.
A very short online film, called The life and lies of Boris Johnson makes for interesting viewing.

The Bible describes an ancient ruler with an array of wives and concubines, who is startled when a supernatural hand terrifyingly appears at a banquet and writes four words [mene, mene, tekel, parsin] on a wall. A prophet interprets the words and reveals how the leader has been-”weighed on the scales and found wanting”, so that his reign is doomed.

Good riddance to Boris Johnson PM. Financial or sexual sleaze are part of worldly life but have they been elevated to an art form by the current Tory Party?
J T Hardy, Belfast.

Take a look at a third choice

Regarding the proposed Breackerie wind farm development, I think the anonymous correspondent (July 1) in your sister title recently, knew what I meant by ‘industrial landscape’, but here it is, anyway: terrain dominated by man-made structures, such as gigantic wind turbines. While ‘dairy cattle’ and ‘large stands of barley’ might conceivably be classifiable as ‘industrial’, these I can live with, and have all my life.

Within the area in question, which is the coast between Machrihanish and the Mull of Kintyre, small-scale dairy/arable farming was entirely replaced more than two centuries ago by sheep farming. That coast, and its hinterland, is one of outstanding scenic beauty, and its rare flora and fauna deserve protection from intrusive development and consequent ecological damage.

Even if the spread of wind turbines into South Kintyre cannot be halted, there must be limits on expansion, and that Atlantic coast should be excluded from encroachment and afforded legal protection. Humans as well as wildlife need natural havens.

The core issue has become one of fossil fuels versus so-called green energy, and I am reminded of the words of Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchenbreck, commander of the Covenanting army routed at Inverlochy in 1645.

When captured on the battlefield and asked to choose between death by hanging or beheading, he replied: ‘Da dhiu gun aon roghainn’ (Two evils and no choice). There may be a third choice, which is voluntary restraint. We all use energy, but could use – or waste – less energy if we tried.

Shortages will come, anyway, and covering the countryside with monstrous metal towers and their associated infrastructure may not look clever 25 years from now.
Angus Martin, Campbeltown

It is time to make a stand

Did you know that one in seven diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year die within two months after diagnosis? On Tuesday June 28 I am marched to No 10 Downing Street, alongside Target Ovarian Cancer campaigners, to hand in our open letter signed by 20,000 people. Together, we’re demanding the government takes action on the awareness crisis in ovarian cancer.

In 2019 I was working long hours, had a busy lifestyle and regularly visiting my sick mum, I was tired. Then one night, I felt a painful lump in my tummy. I was later diagnosed with stage IIIa ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer changed my life, and with no screening in place it is essential that we are all armed with awareness of symptoms. This means the cancer can be found earlier, and outcomes are significantly improved. Four out of five women cannot name the key symptom of ovarian cancer – bloating. This needs to change.

I’m asking your readers to take just two minutes to learn the symptoms and spread the word: persistent bloating, feeling full or having difficulty eating, tummy pain, and needing to wee more often or more urgently.
Visit targetovariancancer.co.uk.
Catherine Hunt, London

Gluten-free diets in hospitals are medical necessity

With great sadness and frustration, I read recently about an inquest into the death of an 80-year-old with coeliac disease who was fed cereal containing gluten in hospital. The patient fell ill within hours and started to vomit. She died four days later from aspiration pneumonia.

As someone with coeliac disease myself, it is upsetting to realise that even among medical professionals there is such a lack of understanding of this serious autoimmune disease.

One in 100 people have coeliac disease, and there is no cure. The only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet. Even a crumb of gluten can cause a severe reaction.

My own mother, who is 86, has had difficult experiences in hospital. She was offered toast containing gluten, which would have made her very unwell. Another time she was told she was ‘too late’ at 4pm for gluten-free food. The hospital clearly regarded a gluten-free diet as a specialist request, rather than a medical necessity that should be offered as part of standard care provisions.

At Coeliac UK, we are calling on all hospitals to urgently review their guidelines and protocols.

No one with coeliac disease should have to worry about being glutened in hospital.
Maureen Burnside, chairperson, Coeliac UK, www.coeliac.org.uk