When emphasising the size and contribution of the independent sector (letters, 4 November), the size of the hospice movement is often overlooked. Sixty-three of the 500 largest charities in the UK are hospices, and aggregating either their expenditure or income would make them the largest charity in the UK.

They are a model of co-operation and partnership, with the means to provide higher-quality care, meeting patient choice more cost-effectively than equivalent care in the NHS.

They have the capacity to develop further services in partnership, not only in cancer care, but for those with non-malignant disease. It remains a matter of concern that the proportion of NHS funding continues to fall. In terms of getting 'bangs for bucks', is a better investment available to the NHS?

Christopher R Clark Director of development St Christopher's Hospice London SE26