Published: 14/04/2005, Volume II5, No. 5951 Page 22

Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive, NHS Confederation

I welcome your assessment of the joint NHS Confederation and Unison report Completing the Picture as 'a welcome move' which is 'accurate and well timed' (Comment, page 3, 31 March).

However, you are wrong to claim in the same column that 'only the feverish atmosphere of a general election campaign could see senior NHS managers joining forces with hospital porters to seek public understanding' and that the confederation, Unison and others 'must be more active in fighting the manager's corner'.

In fact, our new report is just the latest stage in an ongoing campaign that aims to highlight the role of non-clinical staff in the health service, tackle damaging misconceptions about the role of socalled 'pen-pushers' and ensure that managers are given the same respect as their clinical colleagues.

Completing the Picture was launched to coincide with the publication of workforce statistics by the Department of Health, which showed that less than 3 per cent of the 1.3 million staff employed by the NHS in England are managers.

Unison and the NHS Confederation launched the campaign at the TUC Congress in 2004 with a report based on real-life profiles of staff, from chief executives to appointment clerks. An early day motion in the Commons was signed by more than 100 MPs.

The confederation will maintain its commitment to countering misleading myths about NHS staff beyond the election campaign.

We wholeheartedly agree with your comment column's conclusion that 'all NHS staff, regardless of whether they are directly involved in treating patients, deserve equal respect'.