Health minister Alan Milburn has been accused of using 'the easy rhetoric' of 'fat cat managers' by the First Division Association.

In a letter published in HSJ this week, general secretary Jonathan Baume says he was 'surprised and concerned' to see the minister's response to press claims that a Cornish chief executive was in line for a six-figure pay-off.

According to The Guardian, Mr Milburn said the case 'reflected an unacceptable state of affairs' brought about by the trust freedoms created by the Conservative government.

But Mr Baume argues FDA members, including senior NHS executives, are being dismissed for 'political' reasons and in 'badly handled' reorganisations.

'If ministers do not support managers...greater demoralisation will set in,' says Mr Baume.

See Letters, pages 20-1.