I was interested in Sarah Carr's feature, 'The comfort of small things' (page 31, 16 March). I recently spent 48 hours supporting my sister and her five-year old daughter who had been admitted to her local district general hospital (not in the city where I work).

The lunchtime meal arrived - fish, carrots, mashed potato and cabbage - but neither my niece nor three other of the eight children on the ward would touch any of it.

Thankfully, the kind auxiliary went to the canteen and returned with four lots of chips (all they had). Hardly ideal cuisine, but my niece ate some of it.

The care was first-class, the nurse, nursery nurse and doctor excellent, but the ward was grubby looking (though not unclean) and the curtains were tatty. It made me think what it must be like to be in an institution for some time.

As a service we must notice the things that improve health quickly, like curtains, decor and appropriate stimulation. Oh yes, and of course alphabet spaghetti.

Mark Brandreth Community services manager North Mersey Community trust