AS an avid reader of the letters pages of your paper I feel compelled to write to you about the two letters – one by Mary Carter (Staff getting a raw deal, October 12) and the other by Liz Stokes (Acer ward closure a disgrace, October 19) – which touched me deeply.

Both these letters are about the present status of our NHS in Cambridgeshire in general and in Huntingdon in particular.

I was trained and worked in the NHS as a specialist for many years and have also worked in hospitals, both private and government run, in some non European countries. My experience of working in health care confirms what Mary Carter pointed out. Cutting down the number of doctors and other healthcare staff in a hospital, be it teaching or non teaching, definitely affects the quality of patient care, In the long run it also affects the reputation of the hospital.

Closing down a useful hospital department, in this case Acer Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital as Liz Stokes has mentioned, will only bring misery to many patients with mental health care problems who need hospitalisation. Sending them north to Peterborough or south to Cambridge will not bring comfort or solace either to the patients or to their poor carers.

I have some experience of the value of Acer Ward as a carer for my dear one who has been treated several times at Acer with very good care and attention.

Without such a locally available health care at places like Acer, my dear one and I would have faced enormous hardship and anxiety. Both Peterborough and Cambridge hospitals are 20 plus miles away from Huntingdon. The more departments at our local hospital that are closed, the more will be the suffering of the local tax payers who deserve good health care services in their town, including mental health care.

Dr TARAK GHOSH

St John's Street

Huntingdon