I have been involved in the care of numerous patients on the Liverpool Care Pathway, ("Inquiry into policy that 'kills off' patients", 7 July). In every case I have found it to provide a superior level of care than would previously have been the case, leading to a more calm and dignified death for the individual concerned and a significantly less distressing experience for their loved ones.
The pathway focuses the minds of all those caring for a dying patient on the specific needs of that person. Sadly, such care is often lacking in today's NHS, and anything which promotes it, especially in someone's final days, should be embraced.
Dr Dominic Horne
Clinical services director Worcester Walk-in Health Centre
An oil rig is a movable device typically used to drill wells. Piper Alpha, the 25th anniversary of whose destruction you reported (7 July), was an oil platform, a fixed structure built for oil production on an ongoing basis, which should have been designed and managed in a safe way.
What was so tragic about Piper was that this was supposedly a production facility, like a factory where people go to work on a daily basis, but one where the standards of operation and maintenance were woefully inadequate to the task of handling flammable liquids and gases. Drilling for oil and gas is dangerous because of its inherent uncertainties, its subsequent production should not be. The 167 men who died deserved better – it is a source of concern that no one has ever been held to account for the failings that led to the tragedy.
I see a stark contrast between Scotland's fawning, subservient treatment of multinational companies working in our waters to the United States government's strident and critical reaction to shortcomings in US waters.
I cannot see the many US inquiries and prosecutions arising out of the Deepwater Horizon disaster (11 dead), coming up with conclusions similar to those about Piper Alpha (167 dead). Namely it was all down to a roustabout, now lying dead at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
The "Falkirk affair" ("MPs to Ed – two weeks to show you're the boss", 7 July) exposes fundamental issues for all parties.
I would suggest only individuals and no corporate organisations (companies, trade unions) should be allowed to donate to political parties (with a cap of, say, £5,000 a year) – to avoid any semblance of "vested interest". I would also suggest any candidate standing for election must have been resident in the constituency (actually lived there) for a minimum of, say, three years prior to the election. This would avoid the "placing" of candidates in "safe" seats.
Jeremy Hunt's decision to delay the introduction of plain cigarette packaging sets a radical precedent for this coalition government. Many teachers must wish Michael Gove had waited for the results of academic discussion, research and pilot studies before introducing free schools, a new national curriculum and examination system. Similarly NHS workers might regret the undue haste in Andrew Lansley's reforms.
On the other hand the coalition has the habit of ignoring the findings of inquiries on such things as press regulation and restructuring of the banks. So even if the analysis of Australia's introduction of plain packaging shows it does reduce the amount of young people taking up smoking, the tobacco industry need not worry. It will give their Tory stooges time to think of another ruse to put off what is in the interests of public health. It can rest assured that profit must come first.
Beverley, East Yorkshire
What exactly does it take for a woman to get on your front page? Or even just on the front page of the Sport section? Because apparently winning Wimbledon doesn't cut the mustard. Page 12 of the Sports pages? You have to be kidding.
Editor's comment: You make a good point. I will be more vigilant on balance in the future
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