HERE we go again, with debate centred on a binary choice between two polar opposites anent “assisted dying”. Why on earth can we not consider a middle way?

Two relatives both suffered intense pain and lay in a state of complete helplessness, in one case for four or five days and the other for nearly two weeks, requiring constant lifting, cleaning, changing etc, after palliative care reached the permitted legal limit but was no longer fully effective. I cannot by any stretch of the imagination imagine anything more cruel and degrading.

Where is the “dignity” about which those of strict religious faith talk? Yet they believe that they have the right to impose such suffering on even those of no faith at all. On the other extreme is the idea that assisted dying should be a choice available to all who foresee only increasing deterioration leading to death.

READ MORE: Assisted dying bill facing opposition from faith leaders

Would it not be preferable to look at a middle way? Rather than put a limit on permissible palliative care, why not, when death is relatively imminent, make the priority to alleviate suffering completely, even if it has the side effect of hastening that death by a few days or hours? Let us focus on palliative care on this basis. That would also lessen the distress of those relatives who have to watch the suffering of a loved one.

The Hippocratic oath, often quoted, includes the relief of suffering as well as preserving life. If the latter is not possible, the former should take precedence. No-one, to satisfy their religious beliefs, should presume to dictate that someone else should be left to suffer. Let each decide for themselves what constitutes a “dignified death” and make adequate palliative care available to all who reach that point.

I personally have made my wish known, in writing, that I want palliative care to be the priority when only extreme suffering lies ahead.

P Davidson

AMIDST opposition calls and criticism of the latest A&E waiting times figures, there is much to be positive about in our NHS.

NHS staff in Scotland are the highest paid in the UK, something we should be proud of and a clear recognition of the enormous contribution NHS staff make to our daily lives. The unfortunate A&E figures will continue to be a challenge as from day to day no-one knows the extent of demand on this service.

READ MORE: Scottish NHS staff face abuse with tens of thousands of incidents

However, as opposition parties continue to condemn and castigate, the question that arises is how would they tackle the challenge? A look over the Border to England, where the NHS is run by the Conservatives and is becoming more privatised by the day, does not fill with me confidence that Conservative politicians in Scotland have the answer.

But then I look even further south to Wales, where the NHS is run by the Labour Party and has not had its troubles to seek. Parties that are in opposition here in Scotland but running the NHS in other parts of the UK are facing major challenges and issues – amazing considering their criticism of the NHS here in Scotland.

So, back to Scotland’s NHS and the many positives carrying on behind the scenes each and every day, which we must give recognition to. My husband has just returned from receiving a “shingles” injection. A letter was received with details of the appointment, and on arrival at Falkirk Community Hospital he was efficiently dealt with and the injection administered. Half an hour later he was in the car and on his way home.

The A&E figures will continue to be a challenge as they are set at a very high standard – rightly so, it is always good to aim higher – but we must be realistic.

Catriona C Clark

“I KEN, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament – men o’ our ain, we could aye peeble them wi’ stanes when they werena gude bairns – But naebody’s nails can reach the length o’ Lunnon.” These words from Sir Walter Scott were quoted by one of your website commentators on May 22.

I have always thought that one of the main benefits of a Scottish Parliament was that we could get hold of our representatives more easily than if they were in London. I am not so sure now.

READ MORE: Can’t Alister Jack find himself something to do to benefit Scotland?

I sent each of my seven list MSPs a letter more than two weeks ago on the subject of the proposed changes to the judicial system in Scotland. I put my views and asked for their response. Up until now I have not received any acknowledgement let alone comment from any of them.

The six MSPs ignoring me are: Anas Sarwar, Pam Duncan-Glancy, Pauline McNeill and Paul Sweeney (all Labour); Dr Sandesh Gulhane and Annie Wells (Conservative) and Patrick Harvie (Green).

Why have we got a Scottish Parliament if our elected representatives (even if the numbers voting for some of them were pitiful) are just going to ignore the people whom they are paid to represent? These people are being paid a generous salary. What are they doing to justify it?

Sandra Durning