I was interested to see you refer to the Continuing Care conference's calculation that 'a 1 per cent annual reduction in morbidity would cut the costs of publicly provided care by 30 per cent, saving more than £6bn by 2030' (comment, 4 March).

The great appeal of this statistic is that it must be of interest to hard-pressed NHS managers making tough decisions on priority-setting. It also offers a huge pay-off in terms of giving quality of life to added years in a most satisfying combination.

The report of the Continuing Care conference on the prevention of dependency in later life gives a blueprint for achieving this£6bn saving. It is a realistic aim, asking for a change of priorities without an increase in funding, but with a truly significant sum of money to plough back into healthcare.

You refer to just one of the report's conclusions - that the care of older people should become 'a core subject at medical and nursing school'. Vital and overdue as this is, it also contains a number of additional achievable objectives.

If progress is to be made in promoting independence in later life, all the recommendations should be speedy implemented. Then we could begin to close what your leader described as 'a shameful gap in the welfare state, through which can be glimpsed the fear and insecurity most people assume the UK had left behind in the 1940s'.

Rosemary Shurgold

Health visitor

Oxford