Letter: NHS conference was not a freebie

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The Independent Online
HOW DEPRESSING that the half-page you devoted to the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts (Nahat) annual conference in Bournemouth ('NHS gets down to party politics', 20 June) said not one word about the subject of the conference, 'Managing Health '93'.

Besides the 'networking' that you mentioned, most delegates came because they were concerned about the NHS and the service that they manage. Most of us benefit tremendously from hearing how others tackle the same problems we all face and have the opportunity to pass on our own ideas. For example, at one meeting I was able to raise concern about government proposals for London's health services with Bob Nicholls, executive director of the London Implementation Group, and came away convinced that he had listened. How else would I, a non-executive member of Camden and Islington Family Health Services Authority, get these matters heard?

Some of us are self-employed, and lost income more than double the actual attendance cost to the FHSA itself. It is hard work taking part in such a conference, and if we didn't believe that our organisations benefited, we would not put ourselves through it. The motives you suggest are not worthy of you.

Alan Berson

London WC1