Letter: Surgeon or plumber

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The Independent Culture
Sir: While sympathising with Dr Bannon's evident hurt at the cost of his recent house move (letter, 18 September), it is difficult to agree with the analogy he draws between the hourly rates of pay of solicitors, plumbers, locksmiths and TV repairers, and the pay of NHS consultants.

NHS consultants are salaried employees with job security and generous pension arrangements. They pay no overheads for office space, secretarial assistance, stationery, heating, lighting and cleaning, or the capital cost and maintenance of expensive medical equipment with which to ply their trade. It is not unknown for them to complain bitterly about charges for hospital car-parking, however.

NHS consultants retain the right to as much private practice as they can find the time for, secure in the knowledge that they are topping up a monthly pay cheque that arrives in the bank account come what may. Many a solicitor or plumber would jump at such favourable conditions of employment.

Dr F S GOLDBY

Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk

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