I read with interest the two articles on health promotion, ('Nipped in the bud' and 'How to get promoted', 19 July). Both illustrate a paradox between the government's wish list for improved health and the reality of policies which threaten the demise of a small specialised group of professionals - health promotion specialists and public health specialists - who can move the wish list to practice.

Many health professionals and others associated with healthy living are increasingly charged with health promotion responsibilities for which they have little or no training.

Health promotion awardbearing courses (in particular, advanced certificate in health promotion open learning, for which we are responsible) proactively encourage participants (who are practising professionals) to develop evidence-based initiatives and evaluation plans with a view to apply for funding.

Our programme facilitates partnership working during and after the course by concentrating on generic skills to a wide range of professionals, inside and outside the NHS.

The effort of preparing a bid is greatly reduced, but quality enhanced, if those involved are skilled and articulate.

Reliable evaluation provides evidence for primary care trusts - they might be taking initiatives forward when the lottery funds run out.

Ann Wylie, course leader;

Richard Shircore, course tutor East Berkshire Community Health trust