Published: 30/01/2003, Volume II3, No. 5840 Page 23

I write in reply to Graeme Betts' thought-provoking article.

While offering some interesting ideas on improving care for older people, I feel Mr Betts is coming from a narrow NHS perspective and his suggestions appear to come rather late to the community care of older people.

Against Mr Betts' suggestions for a new kind of community support worker, we should weigh in balance the schemes that have been produced, at short notice, by social services and independent service providers to winter pressures and 'cash for change' programmes. It is worth pointing out that the money for these schemes was made available, with limited warning, by central government to take the pressure out of delayed discharge.

The social care model can provide important pieces in the delayed discharges jigsaw. This must not be forgotten.

However, the domiciliary care sector needs recognition and the funding to develop such schemes.

Full coverage of the costs of meeting the new care standards from 1 April 2003 is vital.

Brian Strevens Chief executive The Quinn Centre