Published: 07/10/2004, Volume II4, No. 5926 Page 27

Your racial diversity special report (pages 39-46, 23 September) gave excellent coverage to this important issue and highlighted a range of NHS and Department of Health initiatives to help staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds progress to the highest levels in the NHS.

You rightly point to the BME mentoring scheme and the Breaking Through programme as excellent development opportunities for BME staff.

Both schemes are managed by the NHS Leadership Centre and NHS staff.

The NHS Leadership Centre is hosting the national Breaking Through conference at the ICC in Birmingham on 13 October.

The conference, chaired by TV presenter Sir Trevor McDonald, will explore development opportunities and discuss the leadership challenges around race equality in the NHS.

Penny Humphris Director NHS Leadership Centre