Roy Lilley's letter, 'Hospital bedlam' and the feature 'From our own correspondent', (page 22 and pages 30-31, 19 July) make shocking reading.

Sadly, Mr Lilley and the chairman of the London teaching hospital concerned fell into the trap of scapegoating. I presume by the words 'medical mafia', Mr Lilley is referring to the consultant staff.

There is not a doctor in the UK who would not agree that our care should be patient focused. Nor would any doctor refuse to consider change that would enhance patient care.

The history of change in the NHS documents this.

It would be well to consider the possibility that many consultant staff are worn down and exhausted with fighting battles, in increasingly difficult circumstances, to continue to deliver a high quality, patient focused service, rather than labelling them 'semi-detached'.

Three further points:

While a debate to improve the health service is to be welcomed, constant focus on the shortcomings of the NHS undermines public confidence;

There is no evidence that private medical care offers better quality clinical care, and holding this out as a solution is dangerous;

The achievement of clean NHS hospitals that serve appetising, edible food is possible, as examples around the country now show.

We must not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Dr Richard Scheffer St Matthews Road Torquay