Letters from Sam Smith, executive director, C-Change for Inclusion, Glasgow; Val Rowlands, superintendent physiotherapist, Stockport Learning Disability Service; and Rod Campbell, director of communication and development, The Regard Partnership, Kingston-upon-Thames

A colleague has brought to my attention the humorous 'Your Humble Servant' article ( HSJ, 9 November, 2006). I thought it was amusing and would have found it more so without the unnecessary use of the term 'cretin'.

We live in a society that still isolates and excludes large numbers of people with learning difficulties and focuses on people's perceived deficits rather than their scope for contributing to society.

I am sure the term was without the intention to insult or denigrate. However, sometimes thoughtless insults are the most detrimental. HSJmust take a more positive and progressive stance in future.

Sam Smith, Executive director, C-Change for Inclusion, Glasgow

I was saddened by your use of the word 'cretin'.

I have worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS for 40 years today, the past 20 of them with people with learning difficulties. Many people with learning difficulties, their relatives, carers and support staff of all disciplines will be deeply upset by your use of language.

I trust you will never refer to people in this way again and also that you will not use similarly offensive words such as spastic, moron or imbecile.

Val Rowland, Superintendent physiotherapist, Stockport Learning Disability Service

I write to express concern at HSJ's use of the term 'cretin'.

Be in no doubt that the term is seen as offensive by The Regard Partnership,which is a committed to developing services for people with learning difficulties. Anyone working in the field of learning disabilities would say the same. The term is seen as degrading, insulting and a product of a long bygone age.

Rod Campbell, Director of communication and development, The Regard Partnership, Kingston-upon-Thames