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The benefits of soap

I AM one of the many people who are appalled at the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging and waste generated by society.

A change in simple shopping habits would greatly reduce waste and recycling along with the manufacturing and transport pollution.

For instance, instead of buying shower gel, bubble bath or liquid soap, buy a bar of soap instead.

Soap has little or no packaging to dispose of. A bar of soap takes up a fraction of space on a delivery lorry than a bottle on a vehicle hence more can be transported at any time. A bar of soap takes also takes up less storage space in warehouses.

To create a plastic bottle the materials needed to make it need to be delivered to the manufacturer. The bottle needs transporting from the.buyer. The buyer fills the bottle with their product and then transports it to the wholesaler or retailer. The consumer drives to the retailer to buy the product and get home again. Once the bottle is empty it gets put out for recycling.

A lorry is needed to collect the recycling and transport it for processing or baling. That too needs transporting somewhere for disposal or recycling to something else.

Once the bar of soap is finished there is no waste.

Most soaps are made from natural products rather than detergents.

Pop one in your clothes drawer or wardrobe and they make everything smell fresh and lovely.

Soap also makes a lovely gift, is easier to wrap and takes up less wrapping paper than a bottle.

Josie Lewis, Gorse Hill, Swindon

All treated as equals

IN response to Mr Costello’s letter of Feb 1 (We’re for the people), he accused me of bringing race into the debate.

May I remind Martin I was in fact responding to his question “Why are UKIP attacked in the media?”

Mr Costello can deny all he wants to but UKIP in the past have shown some of its members and supporters have toxic views towards immigrants, refugees, etc. I quote Bill Etheridge, who stood in a UKIP leadership contest, who said “some in the party wanted UKIP to become a vehicle for the BNP.”

You also stated that UKIP are a party of family values. That may be the case in your eyes and even some of UKIP’s members and supporters. Perhaps you could pass that message on to Mr Bolton.

Finally, Mr Costello you seem to contradict yourself .You start your letter by saying you “want the best for all residents of Swindon regardless of race and religion.”

You finish your letter by saying UKIP would put British nationals first.

It’s the same old UKIP patriotic nonsense.

Everybody in this country regardless of their race or religion etc should all be treated as equals and with respect.

Mark Webb, Old Town, Swindon

Spend money on care

YOUR report on NHS compensation (SA 3rd Feb), understandably concentrated on the figures relating to our local hospital; but this is a national problem. The fact that the NHS needs a Litigation Authority speaks for itself; and, last year, it cost £1.5 billion.

There are some fundamental issues involved that need to be appreciated:

1. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals go into their profession to heal people – not to harm them. Being human, they may make mistakes, particularly when they are under pressure due to lack of staff and increasing numbers of patients. But mistakes need not, necessarily, mean negligence; and, all too often, it is the system rather than an individual that has failed – frequently due to a lack of communication between its parts.

2. The public (including patients), the lawyers and the judges must appreciate that life is full of risks. All diseases carry some risk – some more than others. All treatments carry some risk – again, some more than others. The doctor’s job is to balance the one against the other.

3. Doctors try to explain these risks to their patients; but some patients have difficulty in ‘taking it all in’ when they are worried about their condition. If they do not understand, they should say so; for, when they sign consent to treatment, they are signing that they have understood the situation and agree to the procedure – and its risks (possible complications).

4. Because ‘something has gone wrong’ (particularly from the patient’s point of view), it does not mean that someone must be to blame. It may mean that a recognised complication has occurred which could not have been prevented; in which case nobody has been ‘negligent’ (which is defined as doing (or failing to do) something that no reasonable professional in that specialty would have done (or failed to do).

To some extent, the medical profession has become a victim of its own success. Because most diseases that were fatal only a few years ago can now be treated safely, and because the incidence of complications is now so low (compared to former years), public expectations have now risen to unreasonable levels.

We now live in a ‘blame culture’ and a ‘litigious society’; so people are encouraged to sue whenever things do not go according to plan. The level to which this has risen in the NHS is now unsustainable.

There needs to be a reform of the legal process to prevent unsubstantiated claims proceeding to court; and to speed up the time to settlement of claims. And there needs to be a reform of the system of assessment of damages and the process of payment (particularly for large sums based on life-expectancy – where the person dies sooner than expected). If much of the money currently spent on litigation were available to spend on front line care, it would go a long way to curing many of the present ills of the NHS.

Malcolm Morrison, Retired orthopaedic surgeon, Prospect Hill, Swindon

A woman to look up to

As it is the anniversary of Votes for Women, many women are named as ones who people would look up to. I have known a lady to look up to - my mother!

My mother was pretty much forced to take over looking after the family of seven at the age of about 14 when her own mother died.

One could go on about the trials of that side of family life. However, years later, I became the youngest of a family of seven. I remember my father suffering ill health and spending lots of time away from work, so we were not financially blessed. I used to get up at 6am for work and when I went into the kitchen for breakfast, it was prepared and ready, the washing was out on the line, the grate had been ‘blacked’ and there was a nice fire going.

I, and my siblings went off to work. My mother then got to grips with all of the housework, went up two hills, twice a week, sometimes twice in one day, into Wootton Bassett High Street, to get groceries. When we arrived home our meal was prepared and clothes were ready for us to don and go out in the evening.

I also remember my mother and father ordering two bikes from Morses of Swindon (in Regent Street), one each for my brother and myself, and the collector used to call to collect the payments.

My parents could not afford that and I knew that it was a struggle, so when I started work, I gave my mother £1 out of my £2.4/6 a week. After a while I decided to give my Mother the £1. 4/6 and keep the £1. I still managed, although by Monday I was broke!

We roamed the streets with nothing much to do but gathered with mates and girls to chat and not vandalise everything we came into contact. We did not want to bring the family name into disrepute.

My mother died in 1990 but I will still look up to her as long as I live.

Chris Gleed, Proud Close, Purton

Have cuppa at home

Forget Bitcoins. Forget gold. If you want to make huge profits easily then buy tea bags.

At Asda you can currently buy 300 PG Tips pyramid bags for just £3. Considering you can pay between £1 and £2.50 on average for cups of tea at cafés and pubs then the profit margin on these humble items is incredible. I just wonder why we are prepared to pay so much for such a simple drink when we decide to have a cuppa away from home.

Roger Lack, North Swindon

Idiots behind wheel

I USE the A420 on a regular basis. It is not a dangerous road. The accidents occur because of the idiotic driving of the road users.

Apart from the three stretches of dual carriageway, it is not the sort of road one can overtake on. Most of it is 50mph speed limit.

Unfortunately there is always a moron who wants to arrive a few seconds sooner. Impatience is the cause of the majority of accidents.

Dave Durie, Fernham Road, Swindon