Health secretary Frank Dobson seems to have reverted to type when he threatens non-executive directors and managers with the sack if they don't 'sort out' (as he puts it) waiting lists.

In almost 20 years of association with the NHS I have never met a manager or a lay person involved with healthcare who did not want to reduce waiting lists.

I have met several consultants whose interest in increasing waiting lists was to inflate their earnings in the private sector.

I have never met a manager or non-executive who would not work evenings and weekends if that is what it took to get the job done - always without pay or overtime supplements.

Holding board members to account for the performance of their organisations is no bad thing, but they are powerless to make doctors work any more hours than they wish to.

Dobbo has the answer in his own hands. He, and he alone, can negotiate with the royal colleges and the British Medical Association to bring about the changes that are necessary to free up the NHS/consultant workforce: initiate a three-shift system for doctors and get the best out of capital equipment.

If he fails I suspect that hospital doctors' car parks will remain empty on a Sunday morning and the non-executive chair's parking space will be empty on the following Monday morning.

Quite where that gets us is anybody's guess.

Roy Lilley, Surrey.