,b>RECENT comments by Jackie Baillie MSP on the state of Scotland's NHS painted a largely negative picture. She should take a trip down south and make some comparisons.

Media reports speak of huge budget deficits in England within many NHS Trusts. Creeping privatisation has coincided with numerous cases of poor care and incompetent practices.

In Mid-Staffordshire a recent report spoke of appalling hygiene conditions, inadequacies at every level and much higher than normal mortality rates in A&E, as well as institutional and systematic abuse of patients.

And all the time private companies continue to profit from patient care.

In Scotland, thankfully, we don't have anywhere near the same level of problems. Health care remains free from privatisation.

Infections are now well below the European average. Prescriptions are free. A new health centre is about to open in the Vale of Leven, bringing a huge boost to an area blighted by ill-health.

The centre is on-time and under-budget.

The massive new state-of-the art Southern General will bring 21st century benefits with all the latest technology and patients having their own rooms, reducing massively the risk of infections.

The current Scottish government's record on heath care is good, and getting better.

James Cormack address supplied