Published: 24/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 20

Martin Rathfelder, Central Manchester public and patient involvement forum

Thanks to HSJ for doing its best to turn the spotlight on the neglected and important areas like sexual health services and away from the cold surgery so beloved of politicians (Clinical Management, pages 30-32, 10 March).

The genito-urinary medicine clinic in Central Manchester, like others no doubt, has abolished waiting lists by the simple expedient of insisting that potential patients ring at 9am, and turning on the answering machine at 9.03am when all the appointments have been taken.

This strategy, learned from everinventive GPs, satisfies the bureaucratic imperative but ensures that those whose lives are most chaotic continue to spread disease to other vulnerable people.

Writing in a personal capacity, can we hope that the Healthcare Commission in its assessment processes will be alert to such attempts to mask the inadequacies of primary care services?