I read with considerable interest that the Office of Health Economics has concluded that new NHS charges make 'little economic sense' (News, page 6, 8 January).

What, perhaps, is more important - other than the fact that charges hit some of the poorest people in the community because their health is frequently worse - is that the government is increasingly using charges as taxation by another name or another route, one less obvious than income tax.

This is not only being dishonest, it is not what many people thought they voted for in May.

Cllr Geoff Heathcock,

County health spokesman (Liberal Democrats),


I was pleased to see Nottingham's plans for the development of new community healthcare services for elderly people reflected in your article ('Honourable discharges', pages 26-29, 8 January). However, this initiative is a community- wide one, led by the health authority, not a Queen's Medical Centre service, as implied in the article.

A decision will be made in the next few weeks about who will lead implementation, but whatever that decision, it will remain Nottingham-wide and all trusts, primary care and social services will continue to participate, which will benefit patients meeting the clinical criteria throughout Nottingham.

Julie Woodin,

Chief executive,

Nottingham HA.