Letters

May I set the record straight ('Doctors accuse trust chief over patient cuts', News, page 6, 4 June)?

Since joining Southend Community Care Services trust just over two years ago, the new management team and I, with the support of staff, have not only turned the trust around financially, we have also secured an additional£2.3m (12.5 per cent) to invest in our mental health services, including four new consultant psychiatrist posts, four new junior doctors, six community support workers, a£250,000 crisis intervention team - courtesy of the government's mental health challenge fund -£140,000 for a court diversion service and over£800,000 towards chronic underfunding.

The only cut was a£200,000 reduction in the health authority's investment in our psychotherapy and art therapy services in the early part of 1997.

These results have been achieved through collaboration - rather than 'collusion' - with the HA and there simply is no evidence to support claims of 'continuing erosion of clinical services'.

We certainly need more investment in our mental health services, but it is wrong to dismiss the investments that have been achieved through hard-fought negotiations.

Mike Harrison Chief executive Southend Community Care Services trust