Published: 11/4/2002, Volume II2, No. 5800 Page 26

Are the members of the health authority who have wasted£250,000 on defending their doctors against the action of Miss B to be surcharged (news in brief, 28 March)? If not, why not?

In legal terms, they had no case whatsoever. Though Miss B is entitled to her privacy, surely the public are entitled to know who is wasting their money? Do they enter similar groundless defences against actions for clinical negligence? Did they seek legal advice - because if they did they should sue their advisers.

The law on consent is clear, and if doctors do not understand it the Medical Protection Society produces a good booklet which is freely available. That seems better value for money than an outing to the High Court.

Martin Rathfelder Development director Socialist Health Association Manchester