Published: 09/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5804 Page 6

Birmingham and the Black Country strategic health authority has produced a 260-page book of poetry and short stories with contributions from writers such as poet laureate Andrew Motion, Doris Lessing and Hanif Kureshi as part of a drive to improve staff morale.The book, called The Gift , cost£40,000 to produce, and copies have been sent to all 33,000 NHS staff in the SHA area.The money came from a oneoff underspend from the staff budget of the old Birmingham health authority, due to vacancies being unfilled in the run-up to mergers which created the SHA.All contributors gave their work free.Copies of the book are also being sold in Birmingham shops priced£7.95, with half the profits returned to the NHS. If a sponsor can be found, there are hopes of widening the book's circulation to the rest of the NHS.