Letters

Your report (news, page 7, 3 August) of West Surrey's independent advisory panel's recommendations regrettably concentrates on the negative history and ignores the positive recent achievements of this health authority.

The panel itself said: 'West Surrey deserves credit for achieving the first round of savings required by the 'sustainable NHS' programme and for fostering a much greater sense of corporate ownership for the problems'. That first round of savings totals no less than£11m. Our current consultation focuses on the final£7m, all within the context of a forward-looking modernising strategy.

The panel went on to express the hope that the NHS plan would pick up the need for a simplification of the structure and clearer roles and accountability at all levels of the health service that will be required if we at West Surrey are to deliver our strategy. Well, we now know what changes are coming and we are optimistic that they will work to our advantage.

In the meantime, it would certainly be helpful if the regional office and the department of health acted on the panel's recommendations for postponement of our accumulated debt and account being taken in the funding formula review of the special cost pressures in West Surrey - not least the cost of market forces for staff. We at West Surrey believe that we have the right strategy for the future and we are greatly encouraged by the independent panel's conclusions.

Jenny Griffiths Chief executive West Surrey health authority