Published: 14/04/2005, Volume II5, No. 5951 Page 22

Rosey Foster, acting chief executive, Institute of Healthcare Management

An unexpected consequence of the ban on fox-hunting has been the coming together of unlikely bedfellows to seek alternative sporting pursuits (Comment, page 3, 31 March).

The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have taken up the ancient sport of healthcare managerbashing. The 'tally-hos!' and hunting horns have been replaced with cries of: 'Tough on bureaucracy, tough on the causes of bureaucracy!' It is lucky that the manager-bashing season lasts only as long as an election campaign, otherwise demoralised managers would be heading for the exit doors in their droves.

Instead, they batten down the hatches and keep doing their jobs for the good of patients.

The Institute of Healthcare Management will certainly continue to speak out loudly for the manager and applauds the NHS Confederation and Unison for their efforts to combat the undermining of non-clinical staff with the publication of Completing the Picture.

It is a moot point, though, whether the initiative will prevent politicians from reverting to type every time there is a sniff of the ballot box in the air.