For Professor Kay (letter, 13 August) to assert that "a skilled or hard- working consultant must otherwise spend more time in private practice" is disingenuous. Consultants only do private practice if they wish to boost their income.
Professor Kay says that in his experience awards were often made "after much discussion and inquiry". I should hope so. These awards are made for the rest of the doctor's working life and have a profound effect on the pension, itself protected and index-linked. Finally, in his list of others who may be consulted over recommendation for an award, he fails to mention GPs, perhaps those in the best long-term position to judge the value of an individual consultant's contribution to patient care.
Dr RICHARD HARDING