Letters / Debate the NHS

Brenda Wilcox’s implication in the Shetland Times newspaper of 27 November that I “do not want any questions asked about this SNP government” is well off target.

I am not a member of any political party, but a committed believer in the NHS.

She misses the point of my previous correspondence: it is easy to gauge the widespread concern and dissatisfaction with existing services, but what then should follow are constructive ideas to solve the problems.


Since I worked in primary care for 35 years, I focussed on the GP section of Tavish Scott’s health survey, and there was no real action plan.

Under the present UK Government there has been an inexorable drift to privatisation and all opposition parties need to combine to ward off any further changes before the NHS really does hit the rocks. It is not helpful if they choose instead to score points of each other.


Brenda reckons that I “conveniently forget that Tavish arranged for Shetland GPs to meet Shona Robison, the health minister as reported by this paper in March”.

Not so. What the outcome of the meeting was I don’t know, but I have a better understanding of my own (unreported) interview with Shona Robison who invited me recently to discuss an 8-page paper outlining existing problems with GP recruitment, and how they might be tackled.

It remains to be seen whether any of the recommendations will be included in the new GP contract she is currently drafting – but I tried.

And so should others! I hope that many will follow Brenda’s example and enter into a debate about the future of the NHS.

Mike McDonnell FRCGP
Old School