Published: 10/01/2001, Volume 112, No. 5787 Page 23

Recent experience applying for posts across England is leading me to the view that staff may be lost to the NHS simply through careless organisation.

Why have I been impressed by the local authority that sent a mail-merge letter thanking me for coming, and the interviewer who made sure I knew the outcome of the interview within 48 hours? This used to be basic practice.

Preparing for and travelling to interviews takes time and money. Interviews, assessments and rejections are depressing.

More than the lip-service 'thank you for coming' is due. It costs nothing to keep a checklist to make sure applicants receive prompt notification and payment of expenses.

Two out of five organisations failed to make contact after the interview, and I had to ring for information. One primary care trust never contacted me. Three out of five PCTs failed to provide travelling expenses claim forms. One did not provide one on request, and I was advised to submit an invoice. A month later an expenses claim form arrived, only to sit at the PCT offices for a further three weeks awaiting authorisation. Two months on, I am still waiting.

There are two PCTs which I will certainly avoid in future and would advise people to treat with caution. Can we give PCTs a starrating on this too - so that 'customers' are warned of possible problems before they apply?

Mary Linton Tadley Hampshire