Long live the diverse, multicultural NHS | Letters

NHS staff | Gendered language | Wasted coffee cups | Article 50 | Oddly named meals

During a recent 10-day stay in a London hospital I impertinently asked each of the 49 people who came to my bedside where they were from originally. Ten were British, five Portuguese, four Spanish, three Philippino, two each from India, Ghana, Somalia and Finland, and one each from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Romania, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Brazil, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zaire, Malaysia, Mauritius, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Iran and Nigeria. These figures should mean something to politicians. They certainly meant a great deal to me and to my fellow ward-mates.
John Holme

• On page 29, Balancing the Bookshelves calls for better gender balance in children’s books (18 March), including not assuming animal characters to be male. Page 33: Natalie Nougayrède writes of “the inalienable dignity of mankind”. Page 38: “cameraman” (but on page 47 “camera operator”). Would it be too much to ask this paper to practise what it preaches?
Sylvia Rose
Totnes, Devon

• Can these 7 million wasted takeaway coffee cups per day not be sent to plant nurseries for potting (Cook, 11 March)?
Rupert Stringer
Horley, Surrey

• Now that we know when the PM will trigger article 50 (Report, 20 March, theguardian.com), will Wednesday 29 March 2017 go down in remainers’ diaries as May Day (Mayday, Mayday)?
Colin Barr
Ulverston, Cumbria

• In Hyde, in the 1950s, my mother would sandwich two rounds of leftover pastry with jam, brush the top with milk and bake (Letters, passim). This went by the name of courting cake. My three sons, irreverent southerners, renamed it leg-over cake.
Jane McAdoo

• In the Centerprise community project (Hackney, early 1970s) we used to sell, successfully, caterers coleslaw enhanced with raisins and fresh apple as “social workers’ salad”.
Tom Wilson

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