Letters

Your report suggests all beacons have had to cancel their open days because no-one wanted to visit them.

As a human resources beacon for our approach to clinical governance, this is certainly not our experience.

We have held four interactive open days, all of which have been over-subscribed, with attendance averaging between 20 and 30 people, and evaluation has reported a satisfaction rate of 90 per cent.

Nationally, over 4,000 people have used the beacon programmes available.

Dr Cook's suggestion that the scheme is inflexible is open to debate. In the early days, both the centre and the beacons were unclear of the ground rules.

My experience is that we have learnt together and developed different and innovative approaches in sharing good practice - it's not just about open days.

We have also been able to develop a clinical governance handbook, which contains our approach to clinical governance development.

This has been well received and evaluated extremely well both externally and internally. I believe other such support material is being developed by other beacons.

The beacon ethos is about sharing good practice throughout the NHS (something we have been very poor at in the past). This should be encouraged, not pilloried, and is certainly not just a PR gimmick.We may not have got all our approach right in the first six months, but rather than dismiss it all we need to learn from experience so we get it right in the second year.

We are happy to share our experiences and approaches both good and not so good, and in doing so we too have learnt from other organisations.

Sharing experiences and learning material does have resource implications, and the beacon scheme recognises this. The fundamental principles of the beacon scheme are a positive initiative.

Wendy Cowie Head of leadership development South Tees Acute Hospitals trust