Letters

Sharing good practice is not a passive activity.Waiting sheeplike for visitors to turn up, and sulking when they don't, is not indicative of the innovation and creativity that most likely generated the good practice in the first place.

Blaming the central coordination is an NHS pastime.

Certainly, there is a great deal to be criticised. As with any process, learning from the difficulties and putting them right is key.

We need a more flexible and user-friendly beacon programme that allows for local initiative and creativity. There is already some evidence of this creativity: videos made, conferences run, presentations made at national events, leaflets sent out, shadowing etc.

What should matter most is evidence of others adopting new practices through the programme.

We urge clinicians to adopt evidence-based practice; as managers we need to take on board the same concept and use the considerable evidence and research on how innovation can be spread.

This includes detailed techniques, but also emphasises the fact that sharing and adopting good practice are largely down to a social process, developed around networks.

The beacon programme needs to reflect this, and sites given the opportunity to learn how to best support the process.

Sharing and spreading good practice is everyone's responsibility. Above all, beacon sites themselves need to look critically at what they have been doing to share their good practice and to support the development of the programme. And what are they going to take responsibility for next year?

Sarah Fraser Director Learning Through Partnership Bucks