I've effectively left my profession because I'm career-minded

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The Independent Online
At the Frenchay Hospital, Pamela Enderby worked in clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment and supervised other therapists. While she became aware that a pharmacist who did not supervise a department was earning considerably more than her, she was as concerned for the effect of low pay on her profession when she began her war of attrition with the NHS, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

"I want our profession to do well," she said yesterday. "Our patients are devalued; they have no voice, so that means our profession is devalued."

Aged 48, with the kind of reassuring presence that would inspire confidence in any patient, she left Frenchay last April to take up the post of professor of rehabilitation at Sheffield University, based at the Northern General Hospital: "I have effectively left my profession because I am a career- minded person and wanted to develop."

It takes about 12 years for a speech therapist to reach the top of his or her profession. Most receive between pounds 15,000 and pounds 19,000 and that is several thousands pounds less than a London tube driver earns.The NHS is constantly axing these highly trained therapists, Professor Enderby said. Some turn to management jobs, not only in the NHS, but with commercial firms.