The comparison of major city expenditure on mental health services from John Mahoney and Sahsi Sashidaran is informative and thought-provoking ('Poor relations', pages 24-26, 1 April).

In our drive to secure decent services for the mentally ill people of Wolverhampton, we have looked to Birmingham as the rich neighbour we seek to emulate.

Birmingham spends£67 per head per year (12.9 per cent of health authority expenditure), while we have£47 per head per year (9.6 per cent of HA expenditure) with similar deprivation scores. Yet it spends far less than Manchester, less than Liverpool and 50 per cent less than some London boroughs.

It seems that the mentally ill people of the West Midlands as a whole are particularly disadvantaged, and we have a lot of work to do to rectify this. It is not easy for us, nor for our HAs, because there remain strong counter-claims for funds for waiting list initiatives, emergency admissions and other 'priorities'.

Professor DJ Jolly

Professor of psychiatry/medical director

Wolverhampton Health Care trust