letters

Most of your news story on community children's services in Cambridge (news, page 4, 9 September) provided a thoughtful and carefully balanced discussion of the complex issues involved.

But Lifespan has not 'admitted' that there-structuring of our children's services has 'failed', and we are not going back to the drawing board.

Although we accepted that there was little evidence to support some of the universal screening that we, like many others, had traditionally undertaken - a view subsequently endorsed by a number of studies - Lifespan has always shared the widespread concerns about the potential impact of a 25 per cent cut in investment in its children's services.

We made the changes to mitigate this impact.

Our own evaluation published before the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association's survey indicated a number of practical issues we needed to address to make the new arrangements work better.

These related to administrative and clerical support, our liaison arrangements with schools and our capacity to respond to the new agenda articulated in Our Healthier Nation.

These issues are directly related to the level of funding available, not to our organisational model.

The CPHVA survey also identifies these issues as the principal barriers to staff undertaking their duties effectively.

Our disappointment with this survey, however, is that it chooses to focus exclusively on what it perceives to be the negative aspects of the changes - most of which are transitional in nature - and ignores a number of fine examples of innovative practices.

We are now working with our staff and their representatives, schools and the education service, GPs, primary care groups and the new Cambridgeshire health authority to develop proposals to deal with these issues in the context of the health improvement plan, building on the very firm foundations we have laid.

Richard Taylor

Chief executive

Lifespan Healthcare trust

Cambridge