MEDIA reports of cruelty, indifferent treatment and lack of trained staff have highlighted the hidden world of UK institutions, hospital wards, care homes and transportation for the mentally ill.

The nation offers vulnerable mentally infirm citizens the highest standard of care in word but deficient in deed. Campaigners for an overhaul of the elderly care system are currently hoping to trigger a debate in Parliament. Does this not indicate the unspoken attitude of Parliament to be: we do not want to do and will not do? What a disgraceful state of affairs.

Closure of the Acer mental health ward in Hinchingbrooke Hospital is an example of this 'will not do' attitude.

Growing old and mentally infirm can be fearsome, but to know that when your time comes the care you are about to receive is a lottery is of doubly fearsome proportions.

While my family are second to none in their loving and caring, I feel that they are the exception rather than the norm.

On January 21, 1961 United States of America President Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

As an 86-year-old, I would like to help my country by arranging that, when full-time care looms nigh, I am put down at a local cut-price put-down-and-body-disposal-facility set up by private enterprise and manned by staff conversant with put-down procedures but not subject to the Hippocratic Oath - my body, without ceremony, to be rendered into and used as a fertiliser.

Such put-down-and-body-disposal-facilities (PDBDFs) should be open to all like-minded citizens. The lifting of unnecessary worry from patients, family and friends, together with savings from national mental health care funds and state and private pensions, could be profound and of much benefit to all concerned, especially the nation's coffers.

By this open letter I ask Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, to try to set in motion an action to enable the provision of put-down-and-body-disposal-facilities (PDBDFs) throughout the land.

A referendum could speed the process. I am sure that we could rise to the modern perceived civilised norms and have a choice as do the equally civilised, forward-thinking and referendum-loving Swiss with their Dignitas clinic.

BOB MULLINEAUX

Beech Avenue

Great Stukeley