Predicting workforce requirements accurately always presents huge challenges but it appears the AHP/scientist estimates are crude in the extreme

The implications of the draft NHS pay and workforce strategy, leaked from the Department of Health, are most alarming for allied health professionals and their patients (pay and workforce exclusive, 4 January 2007).

The suggestion that 16,200 AHPs and scientific technical and therapeutic staff will be surplus to NHS requirements by 2011 flies in the face of the government's own 10-year plan for health service investment and reform, which included a commitment to increase numbers of physiotherapists alone by 59 per cent by 2010.

Predicting workforce requirements accurately always presents huge challenges but it appears the AHP/scientist estimates are crude in the extreme.

We recognise that the leaked draft report does not represent the finished thinking of the government, but even so the prospect of a U-turn of this magnitude is astounding. It is the complete opposite of the government's current plans to achieve the 18-week waiting target and promote primary care services.

Phil Gray, chief executive, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, London