Letters

May I make an observation from the perspective of a (not so) elderly person making every effort to remain fit and mobile for as long as possible, thereby reducing the stress on the NHS?

Today, in my waterproof clothing and wielding an airport-style foldable luggage-holder with a coolbag emblazoned with the name of the 'just-out-of-town' store to which I was heading, I encountered numerous obstacles to my safe progress.

On a suburban pavement I met high kerbstones, traffic lights with conflicting messages, low trees, high weeds and the hazard of crossing a three-lane highway. If I had been disabled or with children and pushchairs, I would have given up.

Gaining access to the store, its produce and its check-out was another story. And this company is extolling the virtues of 'helping the aged', and increasing its car-parking space at great expense.

This money would be better spent in reassessing strategies to enable the walking population and the main user groups to access their merchandise without reliance on a bike, car, bus or train route. And I do not think 'virtual shopping' will be the answer. People still like to meet and talk to each other.

The healthier nation would be the bottom line if commercial enterprises and local government could discuss the needs of taxpaying customers and enhance the environmental resources within communities, taking some responsibility for their overall health.

This would be a healthier alliance than the NHS fighting on its own.

Perhaps this could be a point for discussion at the NHS 50th anniversary conference next week.

Ms JR Haycock Evesham Worcester