The views expressed by Unison's Dave McNally (letters, page 20, 31 August) are an insult to the 750,000 people who work in the independent health and social care sector - some of whom are, no doubt, members of Unison.

The 'common knowledge' of 'risky' private hospitals to which Mr McNally refers is in truth no more than an ill-founded perception. His view of the independent sector overlooks at least one important fact from the NHS plan - that is, that independent sector hospitals and care homes can offer their high-quality services to a growing number of NHS patients.

One would doubt, with the best will in the world, that the NHS will ever be able to meet demand from patients, notwithstanding the current, and any future, investment in it by government. Surely it is in everyone's interests that all available capacity is utilised and that we no longer obsess about ownership of facility.

Peter Fermoy Communications manager Independent Healthcare Association