IoS letters, emails & online postings (20 November 2011)



How many more damning reports are needed before the Royal College of Nurses and senior medical bodies take action on nursing ("Whatever happened to nursing", 13 November)? As a surgeon for Médecins sans Frontières, I witnessed in countries such as Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Rwanda a level of care, often by the families, far higher than much provided in the UK.

Fundamental levels of care do not require extra funding or more staff, but an understanding of the needs of the vulnerable and supervision by senior staff prepared to lead by example and get their hands dirty. It does not need any paperwork to ensure patients are fed, watered and changed regularly, and that all aspects of basic care are attended to promptly and efficiently. Little scientific training is required – just supervision and training by senior staff. Nurses should throw away their paperwork, roll up their sleeves, and work day and night in nursing homes and hospitals.

Reg Kingston

via email

My late mother was nursed in Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham, with great kindness, skill and generosity. She was kept clean, fed and comfortable and checked regularly. Even in death, staff treated her as if she were their own mother, washing her, talking to her and stroking her face. My fear is that, with NHS cuts and reorganisation, this sort of care may not last.

Jenny Loudon

Strood, Kent

In light of our economy's further deterioration, it is madness that the Government appears determined to kill off a home-grown business success story ("Alliance fights Cameron over plan to cut solar power", 13 November). The solar energy subsidy frees thousands of people from expensive, dirty fuels and the big energy firms, creating thousands of jobs and small businesses. Ministers also plan to slash support before their supposed consultation on the scheme has ended. Friends of the Earth is taking the Government to court believing such a move is not only very damaging, but illegal.

Andy Atkins

Executive director, Friends of the Earth

London N1

It's depressing that schools bang on about anti-bullying policy but protect the bullies. ("It starts with calling names...", 13 November). We're told that bullies are just children "insecure about themselves" or with "anger management issues". Maybe they have "emotional difficulties" because of a divorce. I have no sympathy for those who use such motives to make another's life a misery to the point where they might end that life.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Your Walk of the Month on Exmoor does indeed include some beautiful scenery, but it is entirely within West Somerset ("Battle with the elements on Devon's coast", (13 November). It is a common mistake to assume that Exmoor is in Devon, whereas the majority of its area – 71 per cent – is in the equally beautiful county of Somerset.

John Coppendale

Stapleford, Cambridge

Every week, expert economists forecast that the euro is doomed ("How to ditch the euro but not Europe", 13 November). But the euro is doing a wonderful job in trade and tourism: goods can be sold and travel arrangements made in a constant currency, forging a free, certain and easy connection between peoples. Bankers and speculators may salivate at the prospect of new charges on currency transactions should the eurozone dissolve into 17 new countries, but this would cost traders and travellers. John Rentoul says separate currencies would enable weaker European economies to prosper. So why does that not apply to Wales, Scotland, and the North-East, North-West and South-West of England, bound by their membership of a common UK currency?

John Rowe

Taulaght, New Ross, Ireland

Chuggers claim to raise more for charities by eliminating the need for expensive media campaigns, as Julian Knight points out ("Who will rid us of the curse of the 'chugger'?", 13 November). But they fail to calculate the loss of income from people who avoid them. Members of the public should wear a logo, indicating they do not wish to be approached.

David Allbuary


Matthew Bell combined two ships' stories, in his review of Channel 4's Brunel's Last Launch (13 November). It took the Great Eastern three months to get into the Thames, but she didn't stick in the mud at her launch or catch on timbers on the causeway. This happened to a warship built for the Brazilian navy.

Martyn Taylor

Reading, Berkshire

What is the point of Matthew Bell ("There's something peculiar about Pippa", 13 November)? Someone who writes such an unpleasant article about Pippa Middleton, and ends it "What is the point of Pippa?", needs to look in the mirror.

Alan Dean

Stansted, Essex

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