Your news story 'Scottish talks open cracks in pay system' (24 June) has brought important issues into the public domain.

It shows a dismal approach to the critical issue of NHS pay that Scottish Office officials have met only with STUC-affiliated unions and that our organisations have been excluded. This suggests a return to deals in smoke filled rooms rather than the newer approach to industrial relations in Scotland which had started to be exemplified by inclusiveness and social partnership.

The Royal College of Midwives does not believe it would be in the interests of the NHS in Scotland or Scottish midwives to break away from the NHSwide system of pay and conditions currently under discussion as part of the Agenda for Change framework. This position is well understood by all parties.

It may also explain the informal talks which have backfired, dividing rather than uniting those who deliver services to patients in Scotland. Any approach which does not include all the trade union and professional bodies whose members are subject to pay review will not be workable.

Finally, we note the tone of embarrassment of the Scottish Office spokesperson who you report as saying that there will be no official statement from the talks. All NHS staff in Scotland need to be told whether plans are being made to attempt to break away from the existing pay review bodies which determine and protect our members' remuneration. We also need to know what political - as opposed to civil service - support there is for any such initiative.

Patricia Purton Director Royal College of Midwives (Scotland)