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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your Health Editor should have been more accurate in his interpretation of the paper in the British Medical Journal ("Emergency care below standard", 19 June). It is not half of "patients admitted to hospital in an emergency" who receive poor care, but that small proportion who are "critically ill" and who subsequently need intensive care.

The vast majority of emergency admissions do not need intensive care, and as a consultant physician I should hate my next acute intake of up to 35 patients to think their risk of dying will be doubled.

D J WALKER FRCP

Macclesfield, Cheshire

Sir: Your leading article (22 June) on the quality and taste of our tap water competes with the Environment Agency for complacency. In my last house we had to filter water twice to get a tolerable cup of tea. Much more important, following expert evidence given at a public inquiry last year, we cannot be sure that water hereabouts does not contain prions from the local BSE rendering plant. I'll stick to drinking bottled water, thank you very much.

GRAHAM PHILLIPS

Tenterden, Kent

Sir:Your report on the trade in chiru skins (20 June) was extremely disturbing. However by describing the Tibetan antelope, Pantholops hodgsoni, as a breed, some of the impact has been lost. "Breed" is a term applied to domesticated animals where selective breeding accentuates certain characters. If a breed is lost it can in time be re-created. The chiru is a species and if it becomes extinct it could not be recreated by selective breeding.

TONY MORRIS

Crayford, Kent

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