Might I suggest to Gary Woodward (First Person, pages 28-29, 12 March) and Tim Guyler (Letters, 16 April) that, in keeping with The New NHS , there is a 'third way' for good management (another debate waiting to happen) which marries common sense and intellectualism.

In my first operational placement on the management training scheme I thought that management theory was common sense dressed-up in jargon, and that the values I had been taught as a child, such as 'treating others as you would like to be treated yourself', would see me through.

Since being in a strategic post my view has changed. I now realise that, if carefully chosen and applied, management theory can help to clarify issues and identify solutions. The trick, as I have learnt from watching those who have mastered management, is to use the two skills in a complementary way, which is learning that cannot be taught in a classroom but comes through experience.

Put simply, managers need the common sense to know when intellectualism is appropriate; as with everything in life, it's a question of balance.

Demelza Penberth, NHS management trainee (South Thames 1996), London SE13.