Published: 07/11/2002, Volume II2, No. 5830 Page 23

With regard to your editorial (comment, 17 October) suggesting the National Association of Primary Care and NHS Alliance resolve their differences, I wonder if you would allow me a few lines to highlight some misconceptions and inaccuracies in your argument.

In the first instant, NAPC has not engaged in a 'shoot out' with the alliance to attract those nearest the top of the NHS pyramid, as though this implied merit.

Having had regular ministerial input to conferences in the past, we have found our delegates prefer the critical analysis and constructive support of well-informed commentators such as 'top thinker' Nigel Edwards, the NHS Confederation policy director, than the guarded reiteration of latest policy or guidance from the Department of Health or the government. To suggest, then, that the absence this year of a national leader or czar in our line-up represents a fall from grace is to miss the point of our conference and our organisation.

This, of course, is not to deny our appreciation for the continued support of NAPC from both the health secretary and the DoH.

We are committed passionately to the development and furtherance of primary care and NAPC knows primary care trusts are in danger of failure unless they put their practices at the centre of the reforms.

As an executive committee chair, I know only too well that a GP placed on the executive is no proxy for the diversity of our practices.

As an organisation committed to a successful NHS, our task will remain that of ensuring the full engagement and empowerment of primary care, as we see it is critical to the delivery of the modernisation agenda. Our lobbying for the primary care incentive fund, the advice to move to PCT status and the early recognition and support for the flexibilities provided by personal medical services and latterly the new general medical services contract all point to this.

We believe the NHS is now finally at the critical point of accepting our consistent position on primary care and we look forward to new partnerships as we continue to spread our message.

Dr Greg Wilcox Vice-chair National Association of Primary Care