SIR – One of the reasons for our lack of amateur sailors (report, October 29) is the abandonment of school sailing centres by education authorities during the Nineties and Noughties.
In 40 years of teaching I never saw a more effective method than sailing lessons when it came to converting disaffected teens into capable adults. This, of course, did not come cheap.
R V Graves
SIR – As an amateur British, European and world sailing champion, I love the sport. The current problem isn’t one of participation, but of organisation. The Royal Yachting Association now processes children through a set pathway in a drive to find the next Ben Ainslie and secure Lottery funding.
The process has destroyed club sailing. Parents spend fortunes and drive thousands of miles. Hundreds of hours are needed on the water and in the gym. It is no longer fun, and no surprise that most young sailors are lost by the age of 18. Britain may get medals, but the approach has killed lifelong passion for sailing.
Patients’ right to decide their own treatment
SIR – Jane Merrick’s interpretation of the Royal College of Surgeons’ guidance on gaining a patient’s consent misses the point.
A Supreme Court judgment given last year changed the law on consent. We at the Royal College of Surgeons are obliged to comply with this change. While we hope that following the new guidance will reduce the likelihood of a patient, surgeon and NHS hospital being involved in a lengthy, distressing and expensive litigation case, we also hope it will improve a patient’s experience.
Patients have a fundamental legal and ethical right to decide what happens to their bodies. They should be told, by a suitably qualified surgeon or doctor, about all the reasonable treatment options available to them and the risks involved, before they consent to any procedure.
Our guidance will help the medical profession to take patients through the best options for them and to decide which treatment, if any, they would prefer to have.
Council member and lead on consent guidance, Royal College of Surgeons
SIR – When faced with making an important decision in a consultant’s office, the choice is not always easy.
My husband was diagnosed with a medium aggressive case of prostate cancer. The choice was between “watchful waiting” or radiotherapy. After a moment I asked the consultant what he would do if it was his father who had the cancer. The consultant said he would go for the radiotherapy, which my husband had.
He was in remission for four years until his death from another cause.
SIR – A diagnosis of cancer came to me as a complete shock in February last year. The registrar at the Macmillan Centre told me that I was to be under the care of the second-best myeloma professor in the world. It never occurred to me to question her. Each of my chemotherapy sessions was slightly different. I felt as if I were a Grand Prix car stopping in the pits for perfect tuning.
If I had stopped to debate the precise details of what the mechanics were doing, I would not have completed that race.
SIR – There has been much mention of the newly sanctioned third runway at Heathrow (Letters, October 29), but I have yet to see any comment on the construction of the sixth terminal that will inevitably be required in order to facilitate the extra flights.
SIR – What happens when the M25 under the third Heathrow runway needs widening again, so as to cope with the extra traffic generated?
Autumn revels in its true colours at every turn