Letters to the editor – May 28, 2021

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Anniversary of the ‘people’s helicopter’

Sir,

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) has reached its eighth anniversary – after a year like no other.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our Helimed crews have never missed a beat, maintaining our emergency helicopter air ambulance service across Scotland’s mainland and island communities. We’ve enhanced our service with the launch of a new aircraft – Helimed 79 in Aberdeen last year – which has already had a huge impact on pre-hospital care in the Grampian and Highland and Island regions.

In our busiest year ever, our aircrew have endured challenging working conditions, with additional procedures and cumbersome protective and safety equipment as they go about an already difficult and stressful job. But they’re not complaining. This is what the Scottish public ask of them, to save and improve lives, wherever the need arises, and they fulfil their role with courage and pride.

Our exemplary performance during this national crisis has been a tribute to how far SCAA has come in just eight years and I am immensely proud of what the SCAA team has achieved.

But our operational teams are acutely aware we are only able to provide this critical service thanks to the continued public donations which you have maintained throughout these difficult times. So you’re the real heroes in our charity.

SCAA is the people’s helicopter – funded by the people of Scotland, for the people of Scotland – and our two frontline aircraft are stood by ready to help you, your family, your friends, colleagues, neighbours or anyone in your community when you most need us.

As we mark our eighth birthday we’re asking the people of Scotland, if they can, to support us into the future.

Any donation, however small, to celebrate our anniversary will help to save a life – just like the numerous lives we have already saved over almost 3,000 missions.

SCAA vows to continue to transform emergency care in Scotland, particularly to our rural and island communities, with your support.

John Bullough, chairman, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

Long term ferry solutions

Sir,

An investigation by the Herald newspaper recently uncovered that ‘just over half of Scotland’s lifeline ferry network is operating outwith its working life expectancy’, with 16 vessels out of 31 in operation over 25 years old.

Despite the huge challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic that our hard-working ferry crews have to deal with, residents rightly expect a high quality ferry service that runs on time and has enough space to ensure residents can travel to and from the islands, businesses can transport goods to the mainland and tourists can visit our islands to boost the economy.

Unfortunately, cancellations and delays continue to plague routes. I have been working closely with residents, community councils and other parties to find long-term solutions.

This pressing matter simply can’t be left on the backburner.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.