Published: 25/07/2002, Volume II2, No. 5816 Page 21

I write to point out an error in your news focus (pages 14-15, 11 July) regarding my contribution to the British Medical Association's annual representative meeting.

I was quoted as saying: 'A fair number of directors of public health posts were filled by individuals who had no formal qualification in medicine. . .'

What I actually said was that a number of DPH posts were filled by candidates with no formal qualifications in public health.

I also said in my speech that the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Department of Health had set up training schemes for non-medically qualified candidates to train in public health alongside (medically qualified) specialist public health registrars to enable them to qualify in the faculty's membership examination.

The BMA's motion is not against non-doctors entering public health and competing with others on an equal footing for posts of specialist and directors. It is against people without formal public health qualifications or experience getting key DPH appointments in the new primary care trusts, in preference to qualified public health doctors who were doing the job until April 1.

Jammi Rao Director of public health North Birmingham PCT