While a number of those attending the chief executives' forum would recognise the somewhat bleak mood described, I suspect others would not.

Events of this sort are by their very design intended to allow individuals to air their preoccupations, both their highs and lows, in order to free them to work creatively on the issues identified en route. The article failed to do justice to the positive and upbeat mood of discussions which took place throughout the event.

These discussions concerned major practical issues such as clinical governance, primary care groups and working in partnership, which chief executives are tackling as they seek to implement the new NHS. Indeed, chief executives made the commitment to undertake further work on a number of these topics.

I was saddened at the implication that chief executives were entirely dismissive of those organisations, such as the Institute of Health Services Management and the NHS Confederation, that represent them. This was just not the case.

Tessa Brooks

Director

Chief Executive Development Programme

NHS Executive