Published: 25/07/2002, Volume II2, No. 5816 Page 20

Hugh Ross's appointment as programme director of the Bristol health service reconfiguration project raises many areas of concern, not least the method of recruitment (news, pages 4-5, 11 July).

The fact that such a high-profile position was not advertised to ensure the best candidate was appointed is deplorable. It surely falls on all concerned to ensure that any recruitment process is open and transparent.We would pose two questions to Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire strategic health authority. Firstly, will they explain how they were able to fund this post?

Secondly, given the ability to fund this post, will they move with similar alacrity to fund an effective pain-management service for chronic pain sufferers (an estimated at one in four of the population) within their catchment area?

Ian Semmons Chair Action on Pain