In 'Separate ways' (26 November), Paul Jervis and Robert Hazell write that 'the latest figures indicate that Northern Ireland and Scotland receive around 30 per cent per capita more than England, while Wales receives around 15 per cent more'.

The Northern Ireland Department of Health and Social Services has produced comparisons of per capita spending for health and personal social services for the four UK countries.

They indicate that in 1996-97, Northern Ireland health and personal social services' per capita spend was around 15 per cent more than England, at the same level as Wales and approximately 6 per cent less than Scotland.

This represents a significant convergence in the per capita spending position relative to 1983-84, when Northern Ireland health and personal social services' per capita spending was assessed to be approximately 30 per cent more than England,

26 per cent more than Wales and 4 per cent more than Scotland.

Dr MPJ Kilbane

Chief executive

Eastern health and social services board